More Collaboration Profiles

Best Practices

Best Practices

Learn more about the practices that have helped the AHA and its service provider network work collaboratively and meet the needs of its clients.

Limit the number of partnering organizations to only those necessary

Atlanta Housing Authority’s (AHA) intent is to build a trusting relationship between AHA clients and service providers to ensure that clients feel that the AHA’s network of service partners is reliable. For this reason, AHA does not widely recruit new partners, but carefully screens potential community partners to identify organizations with which sustained, collaborative commitments are possible. By intentionally keeping the number of providers involved in its network to a minimum and through careful screening of potential partners, the AHA feels it is better able to create a trusted network of providers to which clients have access. Learn more about the screening process used for selecting partners.

Involve program partners in the strategic planning process

Each year, the AHA invites all of its service providers to a strategic planning feedback forum. During this forum, the AHA presents its strategic plan to the partners. Valuable feedback, as it relates to services and connecting residents to services, informs the adjustment of the strategic plan moving into the next fiscal year. Learn more about the strategic planning process.

Evaluate whether customer needs are met through partnerships

The AHA offers its customers the chance to participate in a formal evaluation of how effectively the AHA is able to address customer needs through its partnership with area service providers.  Most recently, the AHA utilized an evaluation consultant to design and administer an AHA customer survey. Evaluation delivery methods are varied, but often include door to door interactions with AHA customers. The AHA uses formal evaluation and informal feedback from its clients to shape its work and partnerships involved in the collaboration.

Value customer feedback

AHA employees interact with customers on a daily basis and thus have the opportunity to note feedback as to the customer opinion. The AHA is responsive to this feedback and has added service partners to its collaboration as a response to this data. For example, based on noted customer concern about utility rates and bill payment, the AHA invited utility providers in the Atlanta area to join the network of service providers. Until that point, utility companies had not been represented in the service network.

Provide opportunities for partner organizations to share concerns and challenges

During service provider network meetings, partner organizations share challenges they are facing in order to troubleshoot and learn from other organizations’ experiences. These meetings also give partner organizations the opportunity to share resources. For example, when one partner organization represented at the monthly meeting was in need of computer workstations to support staffing needs, another organization was able to provide the additional workstations. As a result of the monthly shared forum, partner organizations are often able to meet one another’s resource needs.

Support partner organizations in obtaining funding

Many partnering organizations do not have the financial flexibility to fund a full-time grant writer. To support partner organizations’ continued funding and success, AHA provides a grant writer to assist partners to identify funding opportunities and to submit proposals for funds. In exchange for the use of the AHA’s grant writer, partnering organizations propose to include supporting funds for AHA customers in their applications. If a service partner receives funding, the service partner’s staff takes the lead in implementation and reporting for the funds received.