The newsLINK Group - Creating a Sense of Community

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Community Title: Creating a Sense of Community Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: People are social. Surprisingly, researchers have found that even introverts are happier when they are around other people. That’s part of the reason why having some kind of group or community to belong to is such a vital part of having a sense of identity. Editorial: Creating a Sense of Community 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 People are social. Surprisingly, researchers have found that even introverts are happier when they are around other people. That’s part of the reason why having some kind of group or community to belong to is such a vital part of having a sense of identity. Those people who do belong to a community, and who feel nurtured by it, enjoy physical and emotional rewards as a direct result. Stress-related health problems go down; so does the incidence of mental illness. Someone who has a strong community will also heal faster after an illness or trauma. Renters are often new to an area. They may have moved to the complex from out of state, and they might have a strong sense of being isolated in their home even though their apartment is surrounded by many other apartments and many other people. As a result, feeling isolated is a common problem, and it isn’t helped by the fact that schedules may vary widely from person to person. To a certain extent, isolation is an illusion. Someone might feel alone, but the truth is that there might be many potential friends who are no further away than the distance from one apartment to another. As a result, one obvious place for tenants to find a sense of community is within their own apartment complex. As an apartment manager, you might already refer to the apartment property as a community, but actually creating that sense of community consists of more than just your choice of words. The following suggestions can be a way to help tenants reach out to each other and get better acquainted. Communicate with tenants through a website and a monthly newsletter. This is a great way to stay in contact with people, and to build a stronger community feeling. Articles should be well-written, relevant, and interesting. Put in announcements that will be of interest to your community, and include some good recipes. Talk to the owners of nearby businesses; can you arrange for a discount if a tenant mentions seeing an ad? Would the owner be willing to let you put discount coupons in your newsletter or on your website? Plan social events. The minimum is probably one or two events a year, but if you are feeling ambitious, you could come up with some reason to celebrate and have a party of some kind on a monthly basis. It can be as simple as movies and popcorn in the clubhouse, a community garage sale, or a book club where members read a book written by a local author; maybe you can even persuade the author to show up and sign a few books. Another idea is to have tailgate parties in the parking lot, or to hire clowns, musicians, or magicians. If you have a space within the complex that is appropriate for larger gatherings, make that available for tenants by allowing them to reserve it for special occasions. Most apartments are pretty small. By offering a larger space, tenants have the option of, say, hosting Thanksgiving for a crowd that simply would not fit in a small living-room area. Have market days where tenants can share their skills, raise funds, and earn some extra money by marketing their crafts or plants to others in the complex. Plan educational activities. Many people enjoy learning new skills or listening to entertaining speakers who can teach them something. Set up a regular time, such as Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon, and invite people to come, speak, and teach. There are a lot of possibilities. The activity can focus on anything: gardening herbs, buying food from local food sources, or how to travel interesting places on a small budget without feeling deprived. Plan outings for those who are feeling adventurous. You hire a bus, offer a sign-up sheet, and collect money; tenants go to museums, concerts, plays, or sports events. You might offer tenants an exercise room and a swimming pool, but think about offering some classes, too. Maybe some massage therapists could visit on a regular basis, or you could find a good yoga instructor

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