Home  American Rescue Plan  Community Engagement

Appreciative Community Inquiry

Conducted by BakerRipley

The Appreciative Community Inquiry (ACI) was carried out by a local non-profit, BakerRipley. The results pointed out key community needs that have been under-addressed – such as childcare and the need for high-quality jobs – and also highlighted barriers and predatory practices, like payday loans and transportation, which keep residents from reaching their aspirations. More information on the research method for the survey and profile of the survey respondents is shown below.

Research Method

  • One-on-One Interviews
  • Focus Group Discussions
  • Community Outreach
- With 200+ Individuals in English and Spanish


  • From all 4 County Precincts
  • Different Age Groups
  • Primarily Communities of Color
  • Earning less than $75,000
  • Communities most impacted by the pandemic
Read Appreciative Community Inquiry Report Across the priority areas selected by Commissioners Court, Appreciative Community Inquiry (ACI) respondents highlighted key concerns which will inform our ARPA investment decisions. Summaries of what we heard are listed below.

Community members highlighted access to affordable, high-quality healthcare; mental health services and support; and caregiver support to be key areas of concern exacerbated by the pandemic.

Community members reiterated the difficulty of meeting in person, one-on-one with a trusted medical professional when medical needs arose, without health insurance and with long wait times. They spoke to the sense of grief and loss people felt and the trust gap between communities needing mental healthcare and professionals who may not share or understand their experiences.

Caregivers highlighted the difficulty of caring for both children in online school and family members more vulnerable to COVID-19 while also being employed in fields that had high risk of exposure.


People described several challenges, such as difficulties building credit and interest in credit repair; lack of information and support for homeownership; and a trust gap between many communities and traditional financial institutions and lenders. Lack of affordable housing presented barriers to renters and aspiring homeowners alike.


Community members had difficulties in meeting their basic needs due to unemployment, reduced hours, emergencies, and debt.

Many people also spoke to desiring better job security, and skill- or career-building opportunities tailored to their specific situations that could help them secure living-wage, meaningful careers with job ladder opportunities. These respondents pointed out that workers have often been left behind, and traditional upskilling programs fail to address the needs of older people, women, and those juggling work with supporting a family.


Stakeholder Engagement

Harris County has sought the advice of a wide range of stakeholders and experts to guide our investment ideas. These stakeholders include local community members, business owners and associations, as well as non-profit leaders and policy experts. The list of stakeholders provided below represents a diverse subset of Harris County, and were interviewed regarding their general thoughts on recommended target outcomes and potential opportunity areas. As full investment opportunities are developed, each project will likely consult the advice of even more people in the County, whether from those impacted by potential programs or potential partners and community-based organizations. Initial Stakeholders

Public Survey

Our public survey, available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese, gave residents a chance to share their thoughts with us online. Nearly 700 respondents identified the most critical pandemic impacts and suggested potential investment ideas. Areas of greatest concern in Health, Housing, and Jobs and Education are shown below:


Respondents who identified category as a "concerning issue"


Respondents who identified category as a "concerning issue"

Jobs & Education

Respondents who identified category as a "concerning issue"
Privacy Policy & Accessibility Statement