Strategies to Address Challenges using NAR’s Programs

There are a variety of strategies and approaches to address challenges in rural communities – and our Community Outreach programs can be used to help fund many of these.

Virtual Coaching Sessions: schedule a one-on-one sessions (Zoom call) with Community Outreach Staff to brainstorm ways to address challenges in your community with NAR’s Community Outreach Programs. Complete the Rural Outreach Assistance Questionnaire before the coaching session.


Programs to Use: Smart Growth Grant & Placemaking Grant

Create New Public Spaces and Destinations in your Community: transform unused (vacant lots) and underutilized (open fields) sites and “eyesores” into welcoming destinations. Placemaking Grant.

Conduct a Placemaking Visioning Process: a planning process with local stakeholders based around a shared vision for what a downtown or commercial corridor could become. Smart Growth grant.

Walkable Communities

Programs to Use: Smart Growth Grant

Conduct a WalkShop/Walkable Community Workshop: a planning and community input session to learn about walkable communities and create an action plan to make a community more walkable.  Smart Growth grant.

Growth, Development & Land Use

Programs to Use:  Smart Growth Grant, Smart Growth Polling & Land Use Initiative.

Review proposed ordinances and their impact on real estate: use our consultant to conduct an analysis of the legal, planning, economic and environmental issues surrounding legislative and regulatory land-use proposals impacting growth and development.  Land Use Initiative.

Support the development of a Complete Streets policy (making roads safe for all users).  Smart Growth grant.

Contribute to the development or updating of a Comprehensive,  Bicycle/Ped and/or Trail plan – Smart Growth grant.

Organize a planning and design Charrette: a charrette is an intensive, multi-disciplinary workshop with the aim of developing a design or vision for a project or planning activity. Smart Growth grant.

Conduct a community survey or poll: use NAR’s public opinion firm to perform a survey on the opinions of the local or state residents concerning growth, transit and/or housing related issues. State & Local Growth Polling Program.

Affordable & Workforce Housing

NAR Program to Use:  Housing Opportunity Grant

Conduct a Housing Study/Analysis –  quantify the housing challenges you are trying to address. Use the study/analysis to explore issues such as cost of homes compared to wages, the feasibility of new development, or assess the types of housing that needs to be built for the future. Approach the study/analysis without any predetermined outcomes. This will help ensure the results are impartial and will increase the likelihood that other stakeholders, such as local government, will accept the findings.

Create a Housing Stabilization Task Force – identify solutions to housing challenges. A task force is a temporary or long-term group of organizations and individuals who share the common purpose of helping homeowners, renters, and landlords manage the challenges brought on my the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond. The task force may focus broadly on housing stabilization or work on a specific topic such as managing state and local government relief programs. For more information about creating a task force, check out Housing Stabilization: A Guide for Collaboration and Initiatives.

Host housing events and forums: Gather stakeholders to identify housing challenges and discuss solutions.

Address workforce housing challenges by organizing an Employer-Assisted Housing Forum or Class

Hold events to educate the public about the homebuying process and financial assistance programs in your area

Neighborhood Revitalization & Stabilization

NAR Programs to Use:   Smart Growth Grant & Transforming Neighborhoods

Organize a Better Block: a one to two-day event to implement a community’s vision to revitalize a downtown.  Smart Growth grant.

Conduct a Main Street Downtown Analysis: a strategy to revitalize or strengthen a downtown or commercial district using the Main Street Approach.  Smart Growth grant.

Conduct a Heart & Soul: a long-term (two years) process to gather the input of all residents to build stronger, healthier and more economically community. Smart Growth grant.

Hold a vacant properties forum: apply to participate in the Transforming Neighborhoods program using a pre-set template and our consultant or plan your own forum to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties in your community.  Transforming Neighborhoods

Conduct activities to address vacant properties:  Apply to for a place-based training through the Transforming Neighborhoods program to develop a common awareness of problems among stakeholders and build consensus for a comprehensive approach to solutions.  Transforming Neighborhoods.

Review the Stabilizing and Revitalizing Neighborhoods in the COVID-19 Era Webinar series to learn about the causes of vacancy and the roles REALTORS® can play in developing solutions.

Hold a forum to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties in your community to discuss the challenges and possible solutions.