Community Progress Makers promotes inclusive programs, policies, and investments in Arlington. APAH convened the Community Progress Makers Advisory Council – an innovative brain trust of impactful service providers, residents, researchers, and elected officials – for the first time in 2016 with the goal to improve services and outcomes for low income residents of Columbia Pike. Since then, the Council has provided a platform to break down silos between nonprofits, lift up issues, gather data, and mobilize advocates.
Arlington County prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming community for all. To ensure that our community lives up to this vision, we need to amplify the voices of our marginalized neighbors and include all people in decision-making processes. The Advisory Council conducted focus groups in order to learn more about resident needs. This information was supplemented with data that the Council gathered on poverty and its effects, as well as a catalog of over 70 service providers on the Pike. Using the focus groups and service provider feedback, the Council identified which services and areas are stressed by need. These are the areas that the Council is looking to mobilize community engagement and support around.
By establishing an active citizenry and data-driven solutions, the Council wants to help to set the stage for more opportunities to address systems change and structural barriers for low income Pike residents to stabilize and thrive. That is progress.