The Open Government Directive describes collaboration as improving "the effectiveness of Government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the Federal Government, across levels of government, and between the government and private institutions." In order to achieve this goal, HUD plans to institutionalize and expand on its existing partnerships with organizations throughout government and the private sector. HUD will also proactively adopt and disseminate best practices that will enable improved efficiency and greater cooperation with the public. The following sub-sections introduce several collaboration related projects that HUD is currently or will be undertaking.
Community-based non-profits (CBNPs) act as front-line partners to HUD's mission delivery programs, and empowering and supporting their entrepreneurial capabilities is a vital tactic in HUD's strategy for achieving its missions. The Department will make available a suite of tools, guidance, and practices that may help existing and emerging CBNPs incubate, become established, sustain their operations, and improve their overall efficiency and effectiveness. HUD will assess best practices from the venture capital, non-profit development, and association communities to identify the most effective ways that HUD can support the CBNP community. HUD will help incubate existing and emerging CBNPs in order to establish them as force multipliers in their communities, meaning they will increase HUD's ability to achieve its mission and reach its customers through these proxy CBNP groups. As a result, HUD's customers will increasingly receive support from this wider "ecosystem".
Incubate and Establish CBNPs
HUD will help enable communities and interested parties to establish CBNPs based on their unique needs. This support will help speed the establishment of these groups, and the tools may include the aggregation of currently available resources by geographic area, best practices on start-up processes, and points of contact to relevant personnel within HUD. Such resources may be differentiated by the unique mission that a CBNP may be trying to achieve. There are energetic and enthusiastic individuals in the communities and these individuals should receive access to help in organizing to become force multipliers.
Sustain Operations of CBNPs
After initial operations begin, CBNPs must identify ways to bring long-term value to their communities, and satisfy residents' needs, in order to remain relevant. HUD will provide access to a suite of tools, guidance, and best practices that will help these established and emerging CBNPs sustain operations that are effective in serving their individual missions. These may range from simple financial tools and best practices to guidance on developing strategic and tactical plans and tying those plans to their operations and their revenue and grant efforts.
Enable Effectiveness of CBNPs
HUD will provide enablers such as data, maps, and other targeted materials that will provide CBNPs with capabilities that enable them to better meet their own objectives. These enablers will empower community-based non-profits to better manage and focus their operations to help meet their individual goals and objectives.
One specific tool may utilize housing provider (HP) performance data to enable CBNPs to compare housing performance relative to HPs in other geographic areas. This may involve the adoption of the heat-map like tool introduced in section Error! Reference source not found. to incorporate multiple layers of information and data that may be useful for each community-based non-profit, along with relevant comparison tools and metrics.
Utilize the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program as a Catalyst for Additional Collaboration to Aid HUD's Customers
In May of 2009, HUD and the Department of Energy (DOE) entered into an important partnership that streamlined the application process for the DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program for the residents of HUD-assisted housing. This partnership saw the two departments collaborate closely to reduce duplicative and unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, support energy efficiency, and more effectively assist the American public. As part of the Open Government initiative, HUD will seek to broaden and expand on this important relationship and find other opportunities for collaboration with the DOE.
HUD recently began collaborating with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on issues relating to the expansion of broadband access to lower-income areas and HUD-assisted housing. This collaborative initiative is a testament to the public partnerships that HUD is creating with numerous Federal Agencies in order to address the needs of a 21st century economy. HUD is hopeful that its current relationship with the FCC can be expanded, and that the Department's customers can continue to receive assistance in gaining access to vital broadband services.
In June 2009, HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) initiated an unprecedented partnership to help American families gain better access to affordable housing, more numerous and more energy efficient transportation options, and lower overall transportation costs. The partnership takes the form of a high-level interagency task force that seeks to enhance integrated planning and investment, provide a vision for sustainable growth, align HUD, DOT, and EPA programs, and undertake joint research, data collection, and outreach. The Department is confident it can continue to work with its partners to make this relationship even more beneficial to the public.
Utilizing a wide range of communications tools, HUD's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) strives to keep the American people informed about the Department's mission to sustain homeownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. By pursuing a broad based program of media outreach, OPA ensures that HUD's customers hear directly from key officials about the Department's latest initiatives and goals.
The OPA has embraced new social networking technology, and HUD now has a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and a YouTube channel. These new tools allow the Department to more effectively collaborate with citizens and inform them about its new and ongoing initiatives.
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