Building Well-Being from the Ground Up

By: Tracy Wareing Evans

June 25, 2018


As we work with leaders across the country, there is an increasing energy aimed at advancing economic and social mobility with and through the communities in which we live. This focus on “localism” is evident across geographic areas, governance structures, and political ideologies. Whether we live in an urban, suburban, or rural community, in a state or county-run human services system, or in a red, blue, or purple state, we share a common desire to be healthy and live well. Every one of us wants to live in a vibrant community where we feel safe and can be active, in a home that is stable and affordable, and in a place that gives us opportunities to support our loved ones through quality education and work.

Last week, APHSA hosted our annual Local Council Retreat, which brings together local leaders from around the country whose missions are rooted in building well-being from the ground up. Through APHSA’s National Council of Local Services Administrators, health, housing, and human services leaders work to advance sound policy and practice through collective learning based on their first-hand knowledge and expertise. In collaboration with state and federal partners, these leaders are at the front line of finding and implementing practical solutions that advance economic and social mobility.

At the core, we know there are certain fundamentals to building a vibrant community. Just like a house that can weather storms, a truly vibrant community has neighborhoods and places where everyone can live, learn, work, play, and connect—and provides access to services and supports that help us through life’s inevitable ups and downs. When times get tough and our communities are challenged with problems like industries shutting down, increases in drug use and violence, housing prices rising out of reach, and more people under more stress, health and human services professionals see these problems emerging—serving as an integral part of a community’s early warning system. And whether times are better or worse, health and human services professionals continue to look for ways to prevent problems that could impact individuals and families. If problems do occur, it is our mission to solve them early on and keep them from surfacing again.

On an average day, you can catch local leaders collaborating with community partners, combining resources and strengths to help provide opportunities for everyone to live well. Through innovation and a focus on prevention and key supports, local health and human services agencies are working with residents, schools, health care providers, judges and mayors, owners of small businesses and large corporations, law enforcement, neighborhood groups, librarians, parks and recreation staff, and more to build capacity in our communities and enhance well-being across the nation.

Together, we can build well-being from the ground up!


Just released! National Council of Local Human Services Administrators Infographic
A visual representation of what a thriving community looks like and the vital role local H/HS agencies play in creating thriving communities.