January 2017 | Business View Magazine

66 67 program and the various regulations they impose or change over time. So, at our con- ferences, we can ask them directly: ‘What does this regulation mean; how do you want us to implement it?’ And sometimes, the discussion veers towards: ‘Are you seriously asking us to do this, because it creates additional regulatory burdens on us, and we’ll need to spend more time and money?’ Both Watson and Look are intent on increasing the NCDA’s membership in order to extend its educational outreach, while increasing its political strength. “We’ve made an effort, this year, to reach out to those communities that are not members, by both email and direct mail, and through contacts with their fellow peers in their areas,” Watson says. Look reports that the Association also obtained a master list from HUD of all jurisdictions across the country that receive CDGB funding. “And we compared that with our current membership and then targeted those who weren’t on our mem- bership list,” he says. The NCDA has several different membership tiers: Its regular members, known as Entitlement Members, are those cities and counties which receive an annual CDBG formula grant and/or an annual HOME Program formula grant from the U.S. Depart- ment of Housing and Urban Development. The annual fees they pay are based on their population size. So-called Non-Entitlement communities – those cities and towns that don’t receive a direct allocation from HUD, but rather from their states –may also join for a reduced fee. So may Alumni Members - individuals previously employed in the The National Community Development Association community development and/or housing administrator capac- ity of an active NCDA member community– and any college or post- graduate students in the community development field. The NCDA is solely supported through its membership dues, and conference and training fees. Still going strong after 40 years, the CDBG program has benefited countless American individuals, families, neighbor- hoods, and communities. It has funded food banks, family counseling centers, homeless shelters, parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, and accessible and affordable housing; it has helped revi- talize inner-city business districts with small business loans, and improved store facades and streetscapes; it has helped seniors and low-income home- owners make necessary safety repairs to their abodes; it has helped stabilize neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclo- sures and delinquencies to help individ- uals purchase, rehabilitate, or redevelop their homes. In short, the program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people across the nation. According to Look, the NCDA serves those municipalities and the profession- als they employ to implement these im- portant CDGB programs, by providing “a unified voice to HUD and to the federal government to bring about concerns we have as program implementers.”Watson sums it up this way: “We are leaders in terms of Community Development Block Grant protection.”And then she adds: “And that’s why it’s important for those commu- nities that aren’t members to join the Association– so that they can be part of that bigger voice.”