Community capital: Leveraging interorganizational networks to improve youth employment equity
Community capital provides a powerful opportunity for improving health and health equity in the GTA through networks and relationships at the inter-organizational and intersectoral level. Inter-organizational networks and community hub models help connect social services as widespread as community centres, settlement agencies, government services, cultural associations, employment services, educational systems and health care. Creating stronger connections between services has been shown to improve health, and social and economic outcomes for communities (Wood Green Community Services 2015). For example, in one Toronto initiative between schools and health care, providers worked together to close gaps in access to health care in low-income communities, improving both health and educational outcomes for young students (Yau and DeJesus 2016). Despite widespread agreement on the value of inter-organizational networks, such networks are often difficult to establish and maintain, and subsequently fail to meet people’s optimistic expectations (Weiner and Alexander 1998). The reason may be that we lack a practical understanding of how networks operate and how they might be strengthened to serve different community needs.