Monday, June 16, 2014

“311 for Cities” Launched to Help Local Officials Face their Biggest Challenges

Have you ever dialed “311” to request assistance from your city?  Well, now your city may have a chance to call “311” for professional help with the issues it is facing as well.

On May 22, 2014, the Obama Administration announced the launch of the National Resource Network, a resource designed to serve as a "311 for Cities." The National Resource Network is a key component of the Obama Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative and is funded with $10 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It will leverage the expertise, partnerships, and resources of the public and private sectors to help cities come up with solutions to their most pressing challenges. The National Resource Network provides three major types of services:

  • Support for Implementing Solutions:  This service is a public-private partnership of experts who will work with cities on the ground to implement initiatives and projects that will foster economic development. The Network will also provide opportunities for cities to apply for direct assistance later this year, so be sure to sign up for updates from the Network to apply for this support.
  • Access to Peer Networks and New Ideas: The Network will facilitate connections between local leaders and their peers as well as with experts in the sector solving similar problems in cities across the country. 
  • On-Line, On-Demand Access to Expertise:  This part of the Network's service provides an online library of tools and technical assistance for local leaders, as well as their signature “311” resource for public agency staff working on economic and community development issues.

Want to know what "311 for cities" assistance from the National Resource Network actually looks like? Their website includes an example question from a city as well as the subsequent expert answer.

The pilot version of this resource is currently available to 50 cities and will expand to serve many more. To see if your city is eligible for assistance from the “311 for cities” tool, click here

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