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Fair Haven Connects

Alex Guzhnay

Connecticut

Fair Haven Connects is a volunteer-driven resident outreach program that aims to use canvassing/ door-knocking (more frequently seen during election seasons) to inform and connect residents to important social services and programs, as well as encourage local residents to attend and even shape local events. By connecting residents of the Fair Haven neighborhood to these important services and events, provided by city or local organizations, Fair Haven Connects aims to inherently build trust within the community and thus draw more residents into shaping our local culture, but also our local government.

Updates from Fair Haven Connects


June, 2020
Hi everyone! To sum up the work of Fair Haven Connects, Fair Haven Connects aims to use door-knocking (as one more typically sees or hears about during election seasons) to provide information about city services, community organizations, and local events in the Fair Haven neighborhood in New Haven, CT. By using information provided by local community organizations, local city council members and leaders, we hope to aid all residents with their concerns, but also draw more residents to join the events that make our neighborhood great. We want to help (over time) restore trust in the political process for residents, and encourage folks to get involved.

Last summer, I attended a 7 week leadership program held at Princeton called LEDA, for high-achieving students from low-income, minority backgrounds. In one of the courses we took, we were all tasked to come up with a project related to an issue in our community that we would refine during the program, and then implement it when we returned to our communities. While I initially thought to focus on the low voting rates in my neighborhood, the amazing staff at LEDA really pushed me to think about the root causes of low voting rates. Since New Haven's city council members are paid very little (and thus have to take second jobs, have families, and more responsibilities), it limits their ability to actively reach out to and engage with all of their constituents—especially those who can't vote because of citizenship status. Being the son of formerly undocumented & Spanish-speaking parents, I figured I was definitely in a solid position to be able to help bridge the gap between our city/community organizations and these groups.

While we won't be able to knock on doors until the pandemic has died down a bit in Connecticut, we hope to use this time to continue reaching out to local leaders and community organizations to amass an extensive community resource sheet (which our volunteers will have on them when knocking on doors). We'll also use the time to continue recruiting volunteers virtually, as well as purchase general office supplies and other materials needed to knock on doors efficiently. We are also in the process of making a monthly newsletter to send out, as well as a website.

To give an idea of how the workspace looks right now (with some clipboards already bought and a temporary workboard set up), see the photo below. While it does look a bit small, there is enough space for work to get done outside of door-knocking (data entry, mailing list, printing, etc). I'll make sure to update the photo once all of the materials have come in and have been set up! Really looking forward to what lies ahead!! There's definitely a lot of work to do before we get to knocking on doors, but I'm confident that with the help of Riley's Way, our volunteers, and supporters, we can accomplish something really great :) !