In this week's Crain's Detroit Business, reporter Nancy Kaffer writes about Detroit-based community development corporations rethinking their business model as funding becomes scarce to support their programs. (See Credit crunch forces CDCs to scale back, rethink). While it is true, in today’s economy, it is becoming more-and-more competitive to raise money. However, funding is available through various programs such as: Acquisition of real property; relocation and demolition; construction of public facilities and improvements (such as water and sewer facilities, streets, school conversions); business assistance; energy conservation and renewable energy projects; structural rehabilitation's; planning; transit oriented developments; homeless assistance grants; housing counseling; tenant based rental assistance; Self Help Home ownership Opportunity; Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities Program; Neighborhood Reinvestment programs; Mortgage Foreclosure Mitigation Assistance; and, others through the Departments of: Commerce; Education; HUD; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; Community Development Block Grants; The University Community Fund; Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives; Sustainable Communities Initiatives; Section 108 Loan Programs; Economic Development Initiative Grants; Compassion Capital Fund Grants; Office of Community Services funds; Energy; Labor; Health & Human Services; National Endowment for the Arts; and, other agencies and departments, depending on what you want funded.
In fact, the following community development organizations have turned to Washington to seek federal funds and have retained a lobbyist in Washington:
Reid Community Development Corporation Calhoun County Community Development (Michigan) Southside Community Development South Carolina Association of Community Development Jefferson Square Community Development Norwich Community Development New Man Community Development (Maryland) Paramount Community Development Town of Riverhead Community Development
HUD also is refocused on rebuilding and reinvesting in urban communities. President Obama has also made urban investment a priority, even creating an office in The White House, to focus on helping urban communities. Funding and support may also be available through The White House Auto Taskforce on Distressed Communities.
I cannot think of a better city than Detroit and its surrounding communities, for The White House and Congress to focus on. Detroit has been one of the hardest hit cities by the economic tsunami that rocked our world. And Detroit CDCs are the perfect organization, with an established track record of success and a dedicated group of leaders to help direct money towards the city of Detroit.
Detroit is a city of limited resources. The City government itself is focused on a number of priorities that may not necessarily be "neighborhood" priorities. Therefore, it is important that Detroit-area CDC's work collaboratively to secure additional funds for Detroit neighborhoods. Not necessarily working against the city for federal funding, but working alongside the city to secure funds it would normally not secure. CDCs can work alone in trying to work with Michigan's Congressional Delegation to secure funding or they can retain a lobbyist or advocate familiar with the process and personalities to identify the funding, apply for any necessary grants and work the requests through the legislative process.
Funding is available at a federal level. The CDCs need to identify the projects that need to be funded and then ask for Congressional support.