Where: South Yuma County, Arizona
Problem: Housing and social service providers within this very low-income colonias area operated independently of each other, causing duplicate services and a lack of a comprehensive strategic approach to addressing community needs
Solution: RCAC helped local housing organizations and other service providers create the Housing and Community Alliance of South Yuma County

The colonia community in South Yuma County is primarily Hispanic with median household incomes below $26,500. Agricultural work is the main source of income, and there is a constant need for more affordable housing and other community services. The local housing organizations and other service providers needed to work together to meet those needs.

RCAC helped create the Housing and Community Alliance of South Yuma County, which includes local housing organizations and other service providers. RCAC contacted the service providers, hosted joint meetings, assisted in goal setting, and provided the leadership development training that resulted in this new nonprofit organization. The Alliance’s mission is to create a united voice to promote collaborative approaches to identify and provide solutions to social issues in South Yuma County.

“By promoting collaborative approaches and solutions to the problems facing this underserved population, in combination with local leadership development, RCAC has greatly assisted in providing new avenues to address the many unmet needs in our rural community,” said Martha Combs, president of the Alliance.
In 2014, the Alliance successfully completed RCAC’s leadership training program.

RCAC’s leadership training program is especially designed for small rural communities. RCAC partnered with the University of Western New Mexico to develop the program, which includes four weekend retreats during four to six months, followed by up to one year of support as the class plans and implements a community development project. RCAC has graduated more than 600 rural residents in nearly 25 communities in seven states since leadership training classes. We anticipate training an additional 100 new leaders in 2015.

The Alliance meets monthly to address collaborative approaches to community needs. It has also hosted two housing fairs where all forms of affordable housing information and resources were shared directly with community residents.