At RPM, we pride ourselves in building communities where residents make connections and build relationships – a place where neighbors become friends. That is no easy task in times of social distancing.
The team at Southtown Flats in San Antonio has met that challenge head-on. They have held a variety of events from balcony parties and breakfast-on-the-go to scavenger hunts which allow neighbors to have fun together, separately.
“Keeping residents engaged is the most exciting part of our job,” Destanie, leasing associate at Southtown Flats said. “We want to give residents a chance to get to know us. We like to socialize with them and get to know them on a personal level.”
At Southtown Flats, it started with gift bags left at residents’ doors when the offices closed.
“We wanted the residents to know we’re still here for them,” Destanie said. “If they were lonely, we wanted them to know they could talk to us. If they needed something, we wanted them to know we’re still here to help.”
The residents at Southtown Flats are very social and are used to attending regularly scheduled community events. The team started looking for ways they could foster that sense of fellowship, but still practice social distancing.
“We saw what was happening in Italy and knew right away our residents would love a balcony party,” Destanie said.
The team knew promoting the event would be important with so many competing priorities. They used multiple approaches including email, social media, and flyers in the elevators. They also sent out party favors in advance, so the residents received their bubbles and water guns before the event.
“Our residents were dancing and some even had a water-gun war,” Destanie said. “It was fun to see residents out, practicing social distancing but still having fun. It was nice to give them something to look forward to.”
The entire team at Southtown Flats is responsible for coming up creative ideas for resident engagement.
“We all work next to one another and are talking throughout the day, sharing ideas,” Destanie said. “We talk through ideas with each other to ensure it’s a good fit for our residents and if so, our manager lets us run with it.”
It was this kind of collaboration that inspired their #DontFeelLikeACastaway scavenger hunt.
“It was a time when everything in the city was closed and you weren’t supposed to leave unless it was essential and that could lead people to feeling alone,” Destanie said. “We didn’t want our residents to feel down; we wanted to get everyone out of that mood.”
That’s when Art, service manager at Southtown Flats, came up with the scavenger hunt idea. The team made a Wilson volleyball and hid it around the community, leaving clues to the location each day on social media. Residents who found Wilson took a photo and posted on social media with the hashtag.
These activities and events have led to more resident engagement. Southtown Flats has seen a 45% increase in engagement on social media and received several positive comments from residents thanking them for their efforts.
While the team is continuing to plan activities like food trucks and engagement with local businesses, they are eager to start traditional events again. Until then, they are busy planning more ways to give back to the community on National Service Day and reflecting on the lessons they’ve learned in the past few months.
“I’m proud of my team,” Destanie said. “We’ve worked together to overcome obstacles and we’ve learned a lot. We’ve stayed connected with our residents and taken extra steps to be there for them and stay present.”
RPM is proud of the team at Southtown Flats for bringing creativity and determination to exceeding every need for their residents. They are an important part of the The People Behind The Property making a difference and building a sense of community.