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From the Ground Up: Community’s Role in Addressing Street Level Social Issues

There is no substitute for community in addressing street level social issues. The community can remove the visible problems from a particular street or neighbourhood either by confronting the problems directly or by displacing them through the promotion of legitimate activity. Rather than simply move problems to another neighbourhood, some communities seek to reintegrate those who have been marginalized as prostitutes, drug users, and the homeless. Sometimes it is these labeled people themselves who take the initiative to mitigate the problems. The only long-term solution is the prevention made possible by building strong and inclusive communities.

People will get involved to the extent that the effort is fun, shows results, utilizes the gifts that everyone has to offer, and starts where people are – their network, their passion, their block. Government and other agencies can help to build community capacity by operating in ways that are neighbourhood-focused, strength-based, and community driven.

Author(s): Jim Diers