NACo Rural County Housing “Learning Cohort” Open

NACo has a national initiative to help advance rural counties’ efforts to both expand affordable housing and understand the link between housing, health and equity. 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) have partnered to offer this RICC Action Learning Cohort opportunity. Recognizing the critical role local officials play in supporting innovation and change, NACo has a national initiative to help advance county efforts to both expand affordable housing and understand the link between housing, health and equity. CHR&R is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute that provides data, evidence, guidance, and examples in order to build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health and connect community leaders working to improve health and equity. Together, CHR&R & NACo help identify new and innovative solutions to the issues facing counties including affordable housing.

The RICC Action Learning Cohort seeks to highlight and support counties in their exploration, learning and action. Selected teams will join together as a community of learners in a structured format to learn, collaborate, and network. Teams receive individual and group-based support e from CHR&R staff to accelerate learning and action in communities.

The application deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Selected teams will be notified no later than Sept. 6, 2019. The Action Learning Cohort’s first meeting is at the NACo Rural Action Caucus Symposium in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Oct. 10, 2019.

The RICC Action Learning Cohort will run September 2019 – August 2020. To assist you in planning and determining whether to apply, a preliminary program calendar is provided below.


Why You Should Apply for the RICC Action Learning Cohort

  • Develop new connections with other practitioners focused on expanding affordable housing and understanding the link between housing, health and equity.
  • Explore new tools and resources to advance actions that contribute to better health.
  • Evaluate multiple strategies to improve housing, the built environment and health in your community.
  • How Can the RICC Action Learning Cohort Benefit Your County?
  • You will have the opportunity to work closely with other teams working to improve their communities. You will:
  • Select and advocate for appropriate programs and policies that will result in increased affordable housing in your counties.
  • Support other participants as they engage with collective learning.
  • Communicate about the role of interjurisdictional partnerships, planning and zoning, funding and finance, and advocacy in increasing affordable housing in your counties.
  • Formulate a plan for continued peer-sharing and constructive support.
  • Connect an equity approach to  improving health outcomes.

What You Should Expect in the Cohort Experience

Group-based action learning brings together teams from multiple communities in a structured format for problem-solving, critical thinking, and mobilization around a common topic or approach. CHR&R staff customize their guidance for each community based on their assets and goals and for each cohort in a co-designed learning exchange. Engagement with the learning cohort will last one year from September 2019 – August 2020. Your team of three to five* core team members must be identified. The team is intended to represent a larger county collaboration (partnership, coalition or network) but these core members will engage with the Coach and other teams in the cohort throughout the year. Engagement will include interactive video meetings (via Zoom), including peer exchanges and individual team meetings with an assigned CHR&R action learning coach, and in-person convenings. The core team must be the same throughout the cohort experience. Supplemental gatherings at NACo conferences are encouraged. Cohort sessions via video last from 60-90 minutes but may vary depending upon the teams’ needs. (*Travel reimbursements are guaranteed for 3 team members to the January convening only. All other reimbursements are offered on a case by case basis. See below for further details.)

Additionally, RICC Cohort teams will have the opportunity to work closely with each other, forming a close network of communities doing similar work.

What Do I Get if I Participate?

  • A lasting cohort of co-learners working on similar issues in diverse locations around the US.
  • Guidance to develop professional multi-sector partnerships to support your work in housing.
  • Guidance to create an individualized action plan to meet your county needs, objectives and measures.
  • Access to experts during webinars, online exchanges and in-person meetings.
  • Experience in facilitated online discussion groups using a range of tools in the Zoom platform.
  • Travel support to at least one convening for up to three persons.

Read more, or formally apply on behalf of a team, on the NACo website.

Hungry For Rural Issues Even Sooner?

Rural counties will have an even more immediate forum for exchange of shared issues, as MACo’s chapter organization, the Rural County Coalition holds a breakfast meeting on Thursday, August 15 from 8:00-9:00 am.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties