Nonprofit building trust in communities to keep people informed, safe from COVID

Posted at 2:38 PM, Jan 08, 2021

“Trust” seems to be the big word when it comes to keeping people informed and safe from COVID-19.

Contact tracing groups have highlighted the importance of building trust in communities, so they can do their job effectively.

Now groups that are trying to educate communities about the virus are trying to do just that.

Healthy Little Havana is a nonprofit in Miami. Most of its workers and volunteers live in the neighborhood they serve.

Group leaders say community-led groups are more effective.

“It means a lot more and goes a lot further when it is someone who is experiencing the same things as you, experiencing the same issues, experiencing the same community as you, to be telling you and asking you and making some of these requests,” said Sofia Cuenca, Program Manager at Healthy Little Havana.

The group goes door-to-door to inform people about coronavirus, how and where to get tested, and even how to wear a mask properly.

They say people are more willing to listen to a neighbor, especially when there are other nonprofits that come and go, and don't follow up when residents have questions.

“Consistency, I think, is key. I think it’s being there. It’s showing up and it’s listening. For a community partner to embody all of those things, it only helps, right? It only builds your credibility and because of that credibility, you’re able to have a greater impact on the community,” said Cuenca.

Healthy Little Havana says because it's been able to build relationships and trust during this time, it expects to have even better communication with people about vaccine access.