After Superstorm Sandy, the State of New Jersey reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to enhance outreach efforts to minority, low-income (LMI), and Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities that had been denied recovery and rebuilding assistance.
Diversity Marketing and Communications was selected as the New Jersey certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) subcontractor to provide comprehensive outreach and communications support to engage hard to reach communities. The communications plan developed by Diversity and approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and local advocacy groups served as the roadmap for adoption of a Language Access Plan and improved outreach to LEP communities.
Leading a team of more than 100 partner organizations, Diversity promoted new Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) programs to over 270,000 residents through door-to-door canvassing, tabling, participation in community programs, distribution of digital toolkits to partner organizations, and other methods. Diversity also organized special events, including housing resource fairs to connect residents with affordable rental units and state-certified housing counselors, municipal agencies, and social service organizations.
As a result, applications for homeowner and rental assistance programs exceeded all expectations, allowing the State to direct funds to populations still in need of assistance. The outreach effort that Diversity supported was recognized in guidance issued by HUD to state and local governments and other recipients of federal financial assistance. New Jersey’s incorporation of community consultation into the emergency management process was cited as an example of a “promising practice.”
To supplement the community outreach, Diversity designed and placed paid advertisements in the 11 LEP languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French Creole, Gujarati, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Through targeted ad placements and significant added value, Diversity delivered five times more impressions than budgeted and a nearly four-fold return on investment.