Our Reach-In Approach

Reach-in is a transformative outreach approach that focuses primarily on building sustainable relationships with community members as well as community groups.  This approach attempts to identify, recognize, and effectively deliver services and resources distinct to specific group needs.

Generally, traditional outreach strategies focus on getting information about services to people.  Relationships with residents, if established, are not often an expected outcome of the approach.  Reach-in emphasizes getting services and resources to people by going to where they live, work and/or utilize those services and assuring that an ongoing relationship is formed and/or maintained. The key here is to reach in to new groups, existing groups, and those that have not had much presence in the larger community (often segregated issue-focused or cultural groups).

This holistic approach minimizes gaps between service providers and traditionally unreached community members/groups. Reach-in is a sustainable, over-arching and all-inclusive approach that focuses on fewer individuals and groups at any single time, with a goal of reaching the maximum number over time.  It is nearly the opposite of the "blanket approach" to outreach.

By reaching-in, our department is not only supporting the delivery of city services, but also analyzing the effectiveness of the community's service delivery in addressing and/or meeting needs.  When we identify ways of delivering services that are not effective, we work with residents and the City department and/or community organizations involved to begin looking for other ways to deliver services that might be more effective.  We want to hear directly from our residents, as groups and/or individuals, and provide opportunities for them to share their thoughts and concerns.

Traditional Outreach: Reach-in (Targeted Outreach):
  • Acquaintance
  • Same group of people generally informed and served most of the time
  • Traditionally, needs assumed by service provider
  • Reference for resources given to people
  • Works well for the majority
  • Service provider's responsibilities assumed
  • Assistance-giving: "Give Fish"
  • Relationship-building
  • Different people informed and served each time
  • Needs co-identified by residents and service providers
  • Connect people with resources
  • Effective for both majority and minority
  • Responsibility of the whole community understood
  • Community capacity-building:  "Teach how to Fish"