NeighborWorks Pocatello has led place-based neighborhood housing and revitalization initiatives for more than 20 years in the central neighborhoods of Pocatello, Idaho. With a keen focus on integrating residents’ voice in its efforts, Neighbor Works Pocatello has helped hundreds of homeowners to purchase or revitalize their homes. In 2013, through a broader effort to help NeighborWorks network members measure the impact of their efforts, NeighborWorks Pocatello used Success Measures’ evaluation services to design an evaluation that would employ a core set of indicators and data collection tools that would help them to formalize a process for measuring successes and achievements against the goals set at the start of the year, and demonstrate the importance of outcome measurement to board and committee members. NeighborWorks Pocatello focused its evaluation efforts in the historic Old Town district of Pocatello, where the organization had plans for a new housing developments, and hoped resulting information could also be used by the city.
Approach and Solutions
Having used Success Measures evaluation services since 2011 (primarily for conducting customer satisfaction surveys for the many services the organization has to offer), NeighborWorks Pocatello was well prepared for embarking on its 2013 evaluation effort. Trained members of its board of directors, volunteer committees and the Old Town Neighborhood Association were ready to administer a door-to-door resident quality of life survey throughout its target area. NeighborWorks Pocatello staff also conducted building and block-level observations of physical conditions in this same area.
NeighborWorks Pocatello was surprised to find that contrary to outsiders’ perceptions of the neighborhood, an overwhelming majority of Old Town residents (85%) reported being satisfied with the neighborhood and said they would recommend it to others. That current residents feel Old Town is a good place to live and renters would be willing to buy homes in the area is a strong message for attracting new homeowners to the neighborhood. NeighborWorks Pocatello used its evaluation data as the basis for a grant request to participate in NeighborWorks America’s Neighborhood Marketing program in 2014 and the block observation data informed its Old Town Neighborhood Marketing campaign.
NeighborWorks Pocatello saw the 2013 evaluation as much more than data collection: it created an opportunity for board and staff to get out into the community and dialogue with residents about issues important to them and also helped to reinvigorate the organization’s relationship with the city, with whom they shared resulting evaluation data. In turn, the experience helped participating residents to learn more about NeighborWorks Pocatello and the many ways in which the organization could serve as a resource for the community. The relationships formed with some community members during the evaluation effort opened the door for them to become more active participants in NeighborWorks Pocatello’s efforts over the longer term. The Old Town Neighborhood Marketing campaign has since become a successful program for the organization; more than 15 individuals sit on its steering committee, many of whom are neighborhood residents. In addition, one of the two Idaho State University interns who assisted NeighborWorks Pocatello in its surveying efforts has since gone on to secure a permanent position with the organization as Community Engagement Coordinator.
About NeighborWorks Pocatello
NeighborWorks Pocatello, previously Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services, is a progressive alliance between residents, business, and government that revitalizes targeted areas by promoting affordable housing and community pride through the establishment of healthy neighborhoods. NeighborWorks Pocatello was created by the community in 1993 to revitalize the central neighborhoods of Pocatello. NeighborWorks Pocatello works towards this goal in several ways, including: home purchase rehab programs; homebuyer education; financial fitness and counseling; and home maintenance workshops. In addition, NeighborWorks Pocatello builds affordable housing and rehabilitates homes for resale.