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HUD’s Neighborhood Networks

Helping HUD Close the Digital Divide and
Foster Self-Sufficiency

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Neighborhood Networks initiative was designed to help residents of multifamily housing communities achieve greater self-sufficiency and success. Owners and managers of HUD Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured and -assisted properties and Public Housing Authorities were encouraged to establish on-site learning centers that delivered technology access and workforce development, academic enrichment, and lifelong learning programs.

For HUD, DB provided comprehensive program management support that helped the initiative blossom into a nationwide network of approximately 1,700 multiservice centers. Each year, DB was responsible for more than 150 deliverables that generated nearly 1,000 documents, products, and services. Managing Neighborhood Networks and helping the client fulfill its goals were no simple tasks, yet DB’s performance continuously exceeded client expectations.

DB’s program management support of Neighborhood Networks included:

  • Program Development. DB helped center staff and property owners/manager develop strategic business plans that guided center opening and sustainability. DB’s program development efforts, which included staffing a toll-free information line and resource center, led to the opening of hundreds of new Neighborhood Networks centers.
  • Technical Assistance. DB encouraged the establishment of new centers and increased the sustainability and growth of existing centers. We conducted on-site and remote technical assistance to HUD and center staff and other stakeholders in the areas of organizational development, budgeting and funding, strategic planning and business plan development, program development and evaluation, resident and community outreach, and marketing.
  • Communications Support. DB increased awareness of Neighborhood Networks by creating a variety of electronic and print materials, such as fact sheets, technical assistance guides, training manuals, marketing brochures, exhibits, and newsletters. DB won the distinguished 2009 Gold Hermes Creative Award for the initiative’s brochure and the 2009 Silver Communicator Award for its exhibit.
  • Partnership and Consortia Development and Support. DB worked with centers to develop strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships with national, regional, and local organizations and institutions that could offer much-needed resources. By banning together to form consortia, centers were able to pool their resources to have greater impact.
  • Special Projects. DB organized and implemented special events, such as national conferences, workshops, and Neighborhood Networks Week. These events increased awareness of the initiative, provided opportunities for center and HUD staff and stakeholders to access training and resources, and strengthened the network.
  • Information Technology Support. DB provided customer support services; operational support and maintenance of the Neighborhood Networks website and database; and corrective and adaptive maintenance for the Neighborhood Networks IT system. DB also assisted HUD with enterprise architecture planning and helped upgrade its applications to a more robust and flexible environment using the latest Oracle database and Java technologies.