While neighborhood initiatives are nothing new to the City, there has never been a definitive "home" in any City department for initiatives like 17Strong, the Love Your Block program, or the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP). The new Department of Neighborhoods will consist of four existing staff members who have, in part, contributed to certain aspects of these programs.
The Department of Neighborhoods will create space for dialogue, information sharing, partnership, and action with neighborhood residents, leaders, and organizations to improve the quality of life for the residents of the City of Hamilton. It will also facilitate dialogue, as well as provide connection between neighborhoods and administration, allowing us to leverage community power to solve problems. Finally, the department will create avenues of engagement through online and offline methods to provide open spaces for feedback on City initiatives.
One process this new department will oversee is quality control of the 311 Service Request System. 311 is the most effective tool for residents to communicate their needs to the City, including to report issues such as potholes, street lights no longer working, nuisance properties, and more. The Department of Neighborhoods will also lead a redesign of the City’s communications efforts across digital platforms (website and social media), print media, and face-to-face engagement with residents. By fostering greater engagement within neighborhoods, and between neighborhoods and city hall, we can create safer and cleaner communities for residents to live.
With all of the efforts of the new department, in the coming months residents can expect to have improved access to information, improved communication from the City, and increased involvement in neighborhood improvement and volunteerism efforts.