Housing Oregon’s resident services peer group convened this November to discuss how best to tackle events for residents for 2021 and beyond. We talked through best practices during the pandemic and how to meaningfully engage with residents. Here are the top five events for your resident services staff to consider. A key recipe for success for these events is to find the right partner.

1. Spring / Fall Cleaning Event

Jose Zarate explained the event brought several dumpsters to a complex so residents could easily dispose of items. Resident services staff were on hand to provide cleaning supplies and support.  Partnerships were made with NextStep recycling so residents could recycle and dispose of their older electronics. Reusable items like books, VHS tapes, clothes and furniture were set aside for donating to a local thrift shop, but residents were allowed to take items from the donation pile if they needed them in their residence.  This event was quite the hit with Homes for Good residents. 

2. Energy Assistance Brunch/Lunch

As we enter the colder weather months, utility bills for our residents seem to spike. Many times resident services help folks apply for energy assistance. It was suggested that you can pair this up with a nice meal to go. It was a tremendous success in 2020.  A good partner for this event is Community Energy Project. They provide community workshops to underserved renters and homeowners about low-cost, energy saving techniques.  Weatherization Workshop attendees will learn how to save money and energy, stop drafts, and prevent mold. Qualified participants will receive a free kit of materials to lower energy costs and stay warmer in their homes during the colder months. Other workshops include Community Solar, Lead-Safety, and Summer Cooling.  Partnership Interest/Community Workshops: If your organization is interested in hosting a virtual or in-person workshop, please reach out to Zack Surmacz at energy@communityenergyproject.org or 971.544.8703.

3. The Grab and Go November Feast 

Instead of gathering everyone together for a banquet feast celebration, residents instead go through a “buffet line” and put together a grab and go dinner kit. Extra care should be taken to engage with residents to provide one on one conversation time for those that need it. Short conversations build community. 

4. Coloring Contest for Kids

Periodically our community rooms need new and exciting art to keep things fresh. A great way to get new art is to host a coloring contest for kids – where the winners can get a gift card or other prize. You could stick to a specific theme or keep it open ended.

5. Excess Medical equipment drive

Many times our senior residents have excess medical supplies from their insurance, such as swabs, incontinence products, and even light medical equipment. These items can’t go to traditional thrift stores, but SVDP in Lane county has a program to donate these items from residents to Hearts for Hospice in Springfield.

For More Information: 

If you’d like to be involved in our resident services peer group, please reach out to kevin@housingoregon.org or join the conversation on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/residentservicespeergroup