The Neighborhood Services (Community Liaisons) is an overarching approach that augments the concept of "community investment." The Community Liaisons provide opportunities for citizens and neighborhood organizations to access education and resources that enhance livability and sustainability, while promoting a suitable living environment.
The Community Liaisons continue to provide technical assistance to neighborhood organizations to promote better communication. The Community Liaisons organize and participate in several events that have become staple events for the Community Development Department. The Community Development Department (CDD) celebrates Community Development Week (CD Week) with various events and activities such as:
The Community Liaisons assist neighborhoods with organizing neigborhood clean-ups with collaboration efforts from different City Departments, and with outside organizations like: Keep the Midlands Beautiful, and the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods. Cleaning supplies such as vests, pick-up sticks, gloves and trash bags have all been donated in an effort to keep our neighborhoods clean.
The Community Liaisons continue to provide technical assistance to neighborhood organizations to promote better communication. Their mission is to provide opportunities for citizens and neighborhood organizations to access education and resources that enhance livability and sustainability, while promoting a suitable living environment. Special emphasis has been given to new neighborhood organizations or neighborhoods wanting to organize.
Neighborhood Leadership Summit (NLS) The neighborhood leadership summit event focuses on providing neighborhood leaders training sessions on a variety of capacity building strategies as well as sustainability. The past training sessions have provided information on working w/local government & organization, setting community goals, Roberts Rule of Order, crime prevention (gang violence) and succession planning. NLS events are a great success, as they give leaders insight on how to better serve their neighborhoods. The event has opened a larger venue by establishing partnerships with Midlands Technical College, City Year, Columbia Council of Neighborhoods and Panera Bread. This event is a collaboration between the City of Columbia Community Development Department, Richland School District 1, Columbia Council of Neighborhoods and Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
The Community Development Department continues to manage the Individual Development Account Program (IDA) to encourage residents to utilize the savings grant program. An IDA is a savings account that can be used only for purchasing a first home, capitalizing a small business, or for educational or job training expenses. Accounts are held at a local financial institution (BB&T). Contributions by lower income participants (200% below poverty) are matched 3 to1 using both private and public sources. All participants are required to receive economic literacy training that includes workshops for credit repair, setting up a budgeting and savings schedule, and other basics of money management.
National Night Out (NNO)
The Community Liaisons serve on the National Night Out Kick-Off organizing committee. The National Night Out Kick Off is a community wide event held to kick-off individual neighborhood national night out events that focus on safety and crime, drug and violence prevention in the City. Each year proves to engage more citizen participation and national recognition of the efforts made by the City of Columbia.
The Community Liaisons in collaboration with the City of Columbia's Police Department and Park's and Recreation Department, host the National Night Out (NNO) Kickoff Celebration annually on the 1st Tuesday in August.
"Columbia's strength lies in its neighborhoods."