How To Start A Neighborhood Association
Neighborhood associations bring the community together in order to improve the vitality and livability of Miami Beach’s neighborhoods. There are over 100 associations throughout Miami Beach that represent residents and business owners and help them organize to make their voices heard in City Hall.
What is a Neighborhood Association?
A Neighborhood Association is comprised of a group of residents and business representatives who devote their time and energy to improve and enhance a well-defined geographic area where they and others live. Neighborhood association meetings, like earlier town meetings, provide a place to meet neighbors, exchange ideas, prioritize projects, propose solutions, and implement plans for the neighborhood.
Most neighborhood associations are concerned with issues that affect the quality of life in the community. This can include issues of health and safety and how to strengthen the delivery of City Services to neighborhoods. Sponsoring neighborhood crime prevention activities and emergency preparedness programs are important projects for neighborhood associations.
Why Start a Neighborhood Association?
Neighborhoods usually organize to:
- Build a sense of community among neighbors
- Address a particular issue of the neighborhood
- Provide the neighborhood with an effective communication link
with government officials and other influential groups
- Empower residents to work together in improving their
Organizing a neighborhood brings people together to form a collective, united voice. A well-organized group of people can be a powerful and influential force.
Simple Organizing Tips
Organizing a neighborhood association is a big job. While it may seem difficult at first, developing your association will be enormously exciting as people come together to address common problems and learn to work together as a group.
Keep in mind some important guidelines as you begin to organize:
- Building an organization is a process. It cannot be done overnight. Be patient. Identify your priorities and build them step-by-step.
- Set realistic goals. Start small and build upward. As your organizational capacity grows, start setting your goals higher.
- How you treat people is crucial to your success. By treating people with respect and integrity, people will be more likely to get involved in the organization.
People join neighborhood groups for a variety of reasons. One of them is to get to know their neighbors and to feel a sense of community. So as you build your organization, be sure to have fun.
How to Start a Neighborhood Association?
Four simple steps to start your association
Contact your Community Resource Coordinator to inform him/her of your intention to create a neighborhood association. Your Community Resource Coordinator will be helpful in providing you with useful information on any other neighborhood associations that are functioning within the area. Call the Community Resource & Outreach Division at 305.673.7575 for more information about your area.
Contact your neighborhood coordinator to discuss establishing a neighborhood association. This individual will discuss the steps in forming a neighborhood association, setting boundaries, and refer you to other technical information that may be useful in your neighborhood-based initiatives
Place a Public Notice in the Miami Herald Neighbors Section indicating the time and place for the first organizational meeting. We also encourage the meeting organizers to post notices at frequently visited places in the neighborhood such as a local grocery store, the public schools, or go door to door inviting your neighbors to this meeting.
Forward a copy of the public notice, a map of your neighborhood boundaries, and the name, address, and phone number of a neighborhood contact person to:
Claudia C. Rodriguez, Community Resource/ Outreach Liason
1701 Meridian Avenue, 5th Floor
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel: 305.673.7575 ext. 6620
Why Register your Neighborhood Association?
Neighborhood associations are organizations, which offer an opportunity for citizens to participate in decision-making for their neighborhoods. The Community Resource & Outreach Division maintains a computerized file of the recognized neighborhood associations that is available to be distributed to various governmental bodies. Many City departments and agencies solicit neighborhood association opinions on upcoming approvals of development projects, programs and services, and other changes proposed in particular neighborhoods.
For additional information, please contact Clauda Rodriguez, Community Outreach Coordinator, City Manager’s Office at 305.673.7010 or email her at ClaudiaRodriguez@miamibeachfl.gov
Please include the name of your organization and a description of the picture.
How do we determine our neighborhood boundaries?
Keep it simple. Draw your neighborhood boundaries reflecting the
natural (e.g. lake) or man-made boundaries (e.g. major transportation corridor). Many times these particular boundaries form a coherent neighborhood
area. A rule of thumb is to keep it simple and start with a relatively
small (but not to small) area to build the sense of community among neighbors.
Are there requirements on the formal structure of neighborhood associations?
No. We do encourage neighborhood associations to develop an organizational structure that works for them. Some options for neighborhood associations to consider include:
Mission statement: An organization’s vision is its driving force.
The mission statement explains why a group exists and what it
hopes to accomplish. A group can revise and clarify its mission statement whenever it is deemed appropriate.
Bylaws: Bylaws are simply the rules governing an organization’s internal operations, including: purpose of organization,
membership information, terms of officers, committees, voting procedures and dues.
What are some key organizational questions?
- Is the neighborhood association attracting, maintaining, and recruiting new members?
- Is the neighborhood association representative of the area?
Are you involving individuals across barriers of race, religion,
age and socio-economic status?
- Are the neighborhood association meetings publicized? Status reports? Successes?
- Are you identifying and forming partnerships with organizations
that support the residents of your community, such as: the
schools, centers of worship, the merchants, business
associations, the employers, landlords, local government,
hospitals, realty companies, libraries, community centers, etc.?
- Are you celebrating your victories? Spread the word and tell
other associations how you did it and how it can help them!