In 2012 CHEER moved forward in creating healthy, thriving communities in Long Branch and Takoma Park, Maryland, by completing a Community Strategic Plan and advancing community priorities by forming coalitions, circles, and leading major initiatives, such as the creation of a Health Enterprise Zone.
Community Strategic Plan
In a two month long process early in 2012 40 community leaders prioritized 22 goals identified by Long Branch and Takoma Park residents in the areas of housing, health, and the local economy into 5 top priority goals and has prepared a long list of selected actions to help address them. The five priority goals focus on
improving employment opportunity,
reducing health disparities and increasing access to health,
providing for housing that is affordable to people of all income levels,
building social connections so that neighbors know each other and work on common projects, and
creating a safe and comfortable place for people to interact and support local business.
Local Employment and Economic Empowerment
Acting on these priorities, CHEER engaged in three projects related to economic empowerment in the community.
CHEER created a coalition to apply for funding to expand local employment opportunities. The proposal centered on Adventist Community Services’ Job Questprogram that aims at providing local people with training to obtain local jobs. The coalition, which called itself the Takoma Park/Long Branch Economic Empowerment Coalition, also included the Takoma Langley Crossroads Community Development Authority.
CHEER sponsored a public forum conducted by the Democracy Collaborative on community wealth creation which discussed ways to create cooperative businesses tied to anchor institutions that are rooted in the community. This model is exemplified by the