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Authored by Joe Kriesberg
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Thoughts As I Clean My Office

December 29th, 2022 by Joe Kriesberg

As I start to pack up my office after nearly 30 years at MACDC, I have been thinking a lot about the past, present, and future of the CDC sector in Massachusetts.  Yes, the old photos and documents bring back memories, but they also inspire excitement about what is possible in the future. I’m not sure these thoughts have coalesced into a coherent and comprehensive vision, but I figured I would share them before I leave MACDC as a contribution to the never-ending and always-needed conversation about how to build a stronger and more impactful community development field.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the field throughout my 30 years has been how to think about community voice and community power.  There was literally a raging debate about this at my first MACDC board meeting in July 1993 and the conversation continues to this day. As neighborhood demographics change, what does it mean to listen to the voice of the “community”? Which community? Whose community?  Is a community a geographic place or a group of people with shared history and culture? The occasional tension residents in gentrifying neighborhoods who are concerned about new development and others who are pushing for new (and more dense) development is a great example of the emerging complexities.  So too are the frequent tensions between homeowners and renters or between those already living in subsidized housing and those who cannot get in or between long-term residents and newcomers. Some community residents want long-term affordability restrictions and others want to create more opportunities for family wealth building through homeownership.

I don’t profess to have any answers here, but I think we should always challenge and question statements that begin with some version of “The Community wants (or does not want) this”.  Such statements should be followed by questions – which community? Which voices are speaking? Have future residents of this neighborhood been consulted? Do younger and older residents agree? Are you talking about people in the immediate neighborhood or the entire city or the region? Who has a stake in these decisions?  And what do we do when reasonable people simply disagree? These questions will force all of us to deal honestly and directly with the tensions, trade-offs and choices that are inevitable in a diverse society.

Like many housing advocates, I have learned to love the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit despite its many inherent problems such as high transaction costs and complicated deal structures. The program has proven itself as a resilient and effective way to build high-quality affordable housing. Unfortunately, I do think that we too often treat the LIHTC program as the sun around which every other housing program must revolve.  LIHTC never acts alone.  LIHTC deals nearly always require significant funding from Section 8 – both project-based vouchers and mobile voucher holders – as well as significant soft debt from state and local funding sources.  Indeed, by some estimates, LIHTC deals soak up 90% or more of the other subsidy dollars available in the system.  This has meant that too often the affordable housing industry is a one-note band building and preserving LIHTC deals and not much else.  Thankfully, the Commonwealth Builder program has put homeownership back into the equation.  Still, we need an affordable housing industry that can be more responsive to the different needs and opportunities that exist.  Four areas stand out for more investment:

We need the state to invest substantially in Community Scale Housing.  The state tried a Community Scale Housing program a few years ago, but imposed funding caps that made it nearly impossible to use – subsidy caps that were dramatically lower than those for LIHTC deals. At minimum, let’s level the subsidy playing field between big and small projects.

We need to greatly expand efforts to acquire so-called naturally occurring affordable housing to ensure its long-term affordability.  Boston and Somerville have such programs and other jurisdictions are trying but the state needs to come to the table in a much bigger way.  Yes, these deals are hard, but if we create the subsidy and financing infrastructure we can make them a bit easier.

We also need a much bigger investment in housing rehab to make housing safe, healthy and ultimately decarbonized. I’m excited that MACDC has a five year grant to advance this work.

We need to find a way to produce reasonably affordable housing without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidy for each unit.  Is there a way to combine up-zoning reform, public land  and shallow subsidies to create starter homes and mid-market apartments? I don’t know the answer, but we can’t solve the scale of our housing problem without significantly reducing the per unit subsidy levels that are now commonplace in our sector.

Speaking of housing, we need to accept the reality that housing is far too complex to be solved by just one or two policy interventions.  I recently read an article that outlined 13 distinct housing challenges!  Let’s always remember that the most important word in housing policy is the word “and”.  We need more market rate housing AND more affordable housing AND more tenant protections AND more rental vouchers AND more homeownership funding AND the list goes on and on.  Housing advocates must find a way to unite across these various issues to build momentum for a more comprehensive and balanced housing agenda.  At a minimum, we should try to avoid pitting one intervention against another in attempt to gain momentum for our priority.

Innovation and experimentation have been a hallmark of the field throughout the decades.  Community developers at both the local and state level are continually creating new programs, new policies, and new strategies to address the ever-evolving dynamics in our neighborhoods.  This trend continues to this day, and it will be vital to our future.  Nearly everything about the context of our work has changed and is changing – housing markets, neighborhood demographics, the political context, the media context, communications technology, capital markets, work culture and more. The pandemic has accelerated and amplified many of these trends.  Community development leaders – and funders – need to continue challenging old ways of doing business and supporting experimentation.  Inevitably, some experiments will fail or partially fail, and we need to have the courage and integrity to recognize when things are not working. Indeed, failures should often be celebrated and honored as opportunities to learn and improve.  I think the field is ripe for a sector-wide conversation about the future of the field, like what we did in 2007-2009 with our Community Development Innovation Forum.

Years ago, I was interviewing a job applicant who had spent the early part of his career in the environmental field.  I had done the same thing, spending several years working on clean energy issues before making a conscious choice to switch to community development.  This applicant, however, looked at me blankly when I asked why he was switching fields.  He said something to the effect of “I’m not switching fields – environmental justice and community development are the same field”.   How right he was! The Climate Justice and Environmental Justice movements are now deeply intertwined with community development, and I think environmental policy will have as much of an impact on the future of our field as housing policy. In fact, they can never again be separated. I’m proud that MACDC has been actively leading this convergence with our role in the Housing & Environment Revenue Options (HERO) Campaign to create dedicated revenue for housing and climate investments. We are also part of the campaign to put $300 million into a Zero Carbon Renovation Fund and we are co-sponsors of a growing program called DASH – Decarbonizing Affordable Subsidized Housing with LISC-Boston and New Ecology.  I urge community developers to avoid the temptation to resist change due to legitimate concerns about costs or complexities.  Rather, let’s be the climate leaders who focus on “how” to get it done.

What is a CDC?  This is a question that has challenged me and many of us for decades.  Here in Massachusetts, we have had a state law that defines the term since the mid-1970s thanks to legislation sponsored by Mel King. During the Community Development Innovation Forum of 2007-09, we developed a new, updated definition that was eventually enacted into law in 2010.  That said, the law did not settle the question.  While DHCD is now responsible for certifying non-profits who apply to be a CDC, there are often close calls that make it challenging.  

What does it mean in practice to require that the community have “meaningful representation” ? How much representation is “meaningful”?  

We require that they have a mission of community development, but what does that term mean today? Does it require real estate development or not? What activities should qualify? 

What does it mean to say that community development must be the organization’s priority? What do we say about multi-service organizations for whom community development is one focus area? Is this the classic case of “you know it when you see it”?  

One of the major challenges associated with CDC certification is deciding what qualifies as a community.  Historically, many of us have thought of community development as “placed-based” work, but what is a place?  Is it a neighborhood? A City? A Region? A State? Does community development even have to be placed-based or can it be grounded in a racial, ethnic, or religious community?  

Over the years, I have had to negotiate these lines on many occasions.  They can be further complicated by turf battles and even personality conflicts among non-profit leaders. How many CDCs can co-exist in the same place? Does this even matter when determining whether to certify a group?  In general, I have leaned toward a more inclusive definition but there is a risk that we water down the concept by being too inclusive.  Overall, I think DHCD has done an excellent job, but this question is going to remain a challenging one for MACDC and the entire sector.

CDCs proved to be incredibly nimble at navigating the pandemic by shifting to virtual programming in 2020 and then again to various levels of hybrid operations in the two years since.  Most CDCs continue to provide vital in-person services and programs while also expanding what they offer on-line.  As we move into the post COVID-era, however, I worry how remote and virtual service delivery could impact the CDC field.  Can placed based groups compete with functionally specialized organizations when people can access services from anywhere in the world?  Will remote programming accelerate the shift away from local groups and local service delivery?  What will be gained or lost from such a shift.  The answers to these questions could have profound impact on the future of the field.

For years, CDC leaders have anticipated the coming generational shift in leadership from the baby boom generation to everyone else! Indeed, one of the reasons we created the Mel King Institute was to help prepare the next generation of leaders.  Well, the future is now. I’m hardly the only CDC leader moving on.  Over the past three years, fully one-third of the CDC executive Directors in Massachusetts have left their jobs.  ONE THIRD!  The new leaders are younger and more diverse and bring a host of new ideas and skills to the job.  I’ve been honored to support many of them as they take on these new roles and I can attest that these leaders are up to the challenges laid out above.  They are going to bring new thinking and new ideas to these long-standing questions:  There is no doubt that when it comes to community development, the future is now and the future is bright!

I could probably go on and on.  Supplier diversity. Small business development. Health Equity. Racial justice.  Where does the field go from here? What is our role in these broader social movements. But I’m now officially running out of time so I will have to leave those questions and topics for another day. I have just a few days left to pack the office and write my exit memos. Starting in January, my place in the community development field will change but I plan maintain a role and a voice in the field.  MassINC’s mission is to promote economic inclusion and civic vitality.  In many ways, this is precisely what the community development field is all about.  I am excited about the many potential opportunities for MassINC to collaborate with MACDC and others in this sector as we advance our shared goals and values.  Please reach out when you see such opportunities and rest assured, for better or worse, I’ll still be around!  

In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and healthy new year!  May we all find peace and joy in our lives and in the world.


CITC: Program Impact 2021

December 6th, 2022 by Shannon Erb

Since its inception in 2014, the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program has been an integral and reliable source of funding for Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across the state. Despite the still many unknowns and knowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDCs raised over $16.5 million. The CITC program provides an avenue of fundraising for CDCs that allowed for the growth and adaptation of programs across the state in response to the pandemic. Here we will go through a few of the critical ways in which CITC was helpful in 2021.

Every year CDCs are required to complete the MACDC GOALs report. This report collects data on the six main aspects of CDC work: community leader engagement; families supported; homes built or preserved, job opportunities created or preserved; and funds invested by CDCs in local communities. The CITC program provides funding that is needed for agencies to best serve their constituents in the ways that they most need.

In 2021 CDCs reported:

  • 1,717 homes were created or preserved
  • 6,744 jobs were created or preserved
  • 3,416 entrepreneurs were provided technical or financial assistance
  • 86,124 families were served
  • $1.45 billion was invested – the first time ever CDC investment reached over 1 billion!

To tell the story visually we will use 3 key points: how the CITC program helped CDCs grow their staffing, expand and/or add to their program, and capital improvements.

The ever-growing demand for the services that CDCs provide has meant that staff capacity is often stretched. With the help of the CITC program, many of our CDC's were able to expand their staffing levels in the areas most important to the work they do in their communities. In 2021 89% of CDCs reported that they were able to expand their staffing. The CITC program provides the flexibility agencies need to add staff where they are most needed to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The pandemic meant that most agencies were pivoting on a consistent basis to keep up with the needs of their communities. 57% of CDCs reported that they were able to increase their program staff levels which was critical to being able to keep up with the growing demand of services offered.

 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic raged on in 2021, with the help of the CITC program many CDCs were able to expand or even add on services to continue to serve their community members with what they were most in need of. Across all areas of work, 85% of CDCs were able to either add additional programs to their repertoire or expand upon their existing programs as the demand grew. In 2021 42% of CDCs added or expanded their services to youth and elderly in their communities, highlighting the growing need for these populations.

In 2021 CDC's were able to improve their infrastructure technologically, physically, and intellectually. While we often think of infrastructure in the sense of bridges, roads, and buildings, we cannot forget the ever-growing importance of infrastructure within an organization. It is the infrastructure that allows agencies, and their staff, to meet the needs of their community members. Nearly 50% of all CDCs were able to make capital improvements such as upgraded communication systems to better reach their clients and community members, upgraded equipment that allowed their staff to work better in an every-changing hybrid work world, and the ability to have staff attend more trainings continuing to grow their professional development.

When the legislation for CITC was passed in 2012 the collective of CDCs across the state knew what this would mean for them, but the outcomes of the program have continued to exceed the vision that was initially set forth. As a program that brings together public and private support to address critical community needs, the CITC program strengthens bedrock institutions that are mission driven to ensure that all Massachusetts residents have an opportunity to thrive.


MACDC and three CDCs Receive awards from Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds

December 5th, 2022 by

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced the 2022 awards of the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds (MA CHHA Funds or The Funds). As part of these awards, DPH, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and the implementing partner Health Resources in Action, Inc. (HRiA), will join with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEACMA), Community Teamwork, Community Development Partnership (CDP) and 20 other organizations across Massachusetts and more than 35 of their community partners, including non-profit community-based organizations, municipalities, and coalitions. All of these organizations have committed to leading efforts to address the root causes of health inequities by disrupting systemic barriers to health and tackling institutional and structural racism head-on. Due to the pandemic, the need to support such efforts is even more imperative.  

 

In total ~$15.6M in grants will support 24 lead organizations and 35 of their partner organizations implementing strategies, ultimately impacting 183 cities and towns across the state. CDP’s project will be focused on the Lower Cape community and Community Teamwork will be focused on Lowell residents. SEACMA’s project will impact health outcome throughout Central and Western Massachusetts and MACDC’s efforts will be geared towards Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities. 

 

“The trust that the MA CHHA Funds (or The Funds) has put in MACDC and our members is indicative of an understanding of the huge impact that people’s economic conditions have on their health outcomes. Community development has a key role in improving those economic conditions and thereby improving health equity,” says Elana Brochin, MACDC’s Program Director for Health Equity.  

 

The goal of The Funds is to work with community partners to disrupt barriers to health, increase awareness and address the impact of structural racism on population health, and to create long-term, meaningful changes in population health outcomes.  

 

The Funds invests in initiatives in three core areas of focus including those:  

  • Working on long-lasting, community-driven policy, systems, and environmental changes that will make it easier to lead healthy lives and which will reduce health inequities such as racial patterns of segregation in communities and a lack of affordable housing production; 

  • Organizing and coordinating Community Health Improvement Planning efforts which convene multi-sector partnerships to collectively set and address community health goals, and; 

  • Working to address policies and systems that increase opportunities for healthy aging. 

 

Recognizing the complex ways in which systems impact health, the investments will support a wide range of activities across the Commonwealth 

 

The following are descriptions of the projects on which MACDC and our members will be embarking with support from the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds: 

 

CDP’s Lower Cape Community Housing Partnership addresses housing insecurity in the Lower Cape region equipping residents, business owners, community leaders and local officials with the knowledge and skills needed to support the creation of more homes in the eight towns of the Lower Cape. With this funding CDP will use the community organizing component of the program to support systems change around land use policies in order to increase housing production.   

 

Community Teamwork will establish Advancing Housing Equity for Seniors project, in partnership with Age Friendly Lowell, Coalition for a Better Acre, REACH Lowell, and Community Teamwork’s AmeriCorps Senior Programs to address the root cause of housing instability among low-income seniors.   

 

SEACMA’s Health Aging-In-Place project is planning to address interconnected barriers to aging- in-place in a way that is secure and healthy. SEACMA will assess, plan, and implement culturally relevant service expansion for Southeast Asian elders in Central and Western Massachusetts; advocate for the implementation of culturally relevant services and programs with partner organizations; and engage and train elders and their caregivers for self-advocacy.   

 

MACDC’s Housing Quality and Health (HQH) Equity Initiative will tackle poor housing quality and associated housing instability, and address the corresponding racial health inequities, by improving existing housing stock in Gateway Cities.  

 

“Through partnership with Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds, MACDC and our members will have significant positive impact on health outcomes in our communities throughout the state,” says Brochin. 

 

The Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds were created in January 2017 when DPH completed a landmark revision of its Determination of Need (DoN) regulation, which authorized the creation of these Funds.  DPH provides overall guidance to the Funds and Health Resources in Action, Inc. acts as a fiduciary and implementing partner. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) partners with DPH to support the Healthy Aging Fund. 

 

More information about the Funds can be found at https://mahealthfunds.org/


Joe Kriesberg Announces Departure from MACDC

November 10th, 2022 by Joe Kriesberg

Dear Friends,

After nearly 30 years at MACDC, including 20 as President & CEO, I have decided that it is time for me to take on a new challenge. I have informed the MACDC Board that I plan to leave MACDC at the end of this year. I am also delighted to share that I will be taking on the role of CEO at MassINC starting in January.

As you can imagine, I did not make this decision lightly. I have absolutely loved my time at MACDC and I remain a total believer in the power of community development to change lives, change communities, and change the world. I am proud of the many things we have accomplished together over the past 29+ years, many of which are highlighted in the MACDC Timeline that we produced for our 40th anniversary celebration. These include:

  • Winning legislative campaigns that have advanced economic opportunity and equity, and strengthened the CDC sector, not the least of which is the Community Investment Tax Credit
  • Securing significant budgetary wins that have steered dollars to worthy programs and investments
  • Creating institutions that will serve the community for years, such as the Life Initiative, the Property & Casualty Initiative, the Mass. Growth Capital Corporation, The National Alliance for Community Economic Development Associations, the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, and, of course, the Mel King Institute for Community Building
  • Sustaining a strong community development network through our peer-networking programs, member events, and other capacity building programs
  • Building a powerful movement that commands the attention of policy makers, including candidates for Governor who now routinely participate in our Candidate Forum at the MACDC Convention every four years.

I came to MACDC and stayed here because I wanted to have a positive impact and I'm confident that these results have indeed improved the lives of thousands of people across the Commonwealth. At the same time, what often sustained me in doing this work are the wonderful colleagues from across the state and the country with whom I have had the privilege to work. It has been these personal relationships that have provided me with the support, the counsel, the laughter, and the love that makes this work so meaningful and so much fun. I certainly felt this sense of community two weeks ago at the MACDC Convention in Worcester! I will always cherish my years at MACDC.

Of course, to everything there is a season, and I believe that now is the right time for me to try something new. MACDC is well positioned for the future and ready for new leadership. For me, I'm excited about the opportunity to lead MassINC, an organization that I have long admired with a mission in which I believe deeply. For those who may not know, MassINC seeks to "make Massachusetts a place of civic vitality and inclusive economic opportunity by providing residents the nonpartisan research, reporting, analysis, and civic engagement necessary to understand policy choices, inform decision making, and hold the government accountable."

Given the state of the world today, I cannot think of a more important task than fostering civic vitality and inclusive economic opportunity. I fully expect that I will continue to work with many of you in the years to come given the significant overlap between MassINC's work and community development. I invite you to reach out to me to share your ideas and thoughts about such opportunities or just to say hello. Please don't be a stranger!

I will remain at MACDC for the next two months working to ensure a successful transition. We have a strong board and staff that are ready to step up. MACDC's best days are in the future!

With gratitude,

Joe

--

A Message from MACDC's Board Chair, Angie Liou

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare to bid farewell to our longtime President Joe Kriesberg, the MACDC board of directors would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Joe for providing over two decades of leadership in Massachusetts for the community development field. We can find Joe's fingerprints on legislative wins ranging from housing, zoning, small business, health, and climate issues. We have Joe to thank for increasing the capacity of CDCs via the establishment of the Mel King Institute and the creation of the Community Investment Tax Credit. These resources enable our CDCs to tackle the community and economic development issues that most affect our communities and residents, whose voices tend to be excluded. Equally important is Joe's leadership during the past two and a half years of the pandemic in advocating for small business relief and tenant assistance while also helping our members navigate unprecedented challenges and working with community organizers and others to launch the Racial Equity Pledge.

As MACDC moves through this transition period over the next two months, the board is working closely with Joe and the staff to put together an interim leadership plan to ensure that MACDC continues to offer high quality programs and services to our members while pursuing our policy agenda with the Legislature and the new Governor. During this time, I and other MACDC board members will make ourselves available to support the staff and the organization.

Simultaneously, the MACDC board will immediately begin a search for a permanent President to lead MACDC into the next chapter. The board will undertake a search process that ensures we field a wide net of diverse candidates, and we will work closely with the new President to ensure a smooth transition. MACDC's financial outlook remains stable, we have a talented and experienced staff, and we have a strong and committed board to guide the organization through this transition.

Please join me in congratulating Joe on his new role as the CEO of MassINC!

Sincerely,

Angie Liou, Board Chair


MACDC Housing Quality and Health Equity Initiative Awarded Funding

November 10th, 2022 by Don Bianchi

MACDC is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year grant for its Housing Quality and Health (HQH) Equity Initiative. The grant from the Massachusetts Community Health and Aging Funds will support MACDC’s efforts to address racial health inequities caused by poor quality housing. 

MACDC is among 24 nonprofit organizations that were collectively awarded $15.6 million in grants in three core areas.  Three CDCs- Community Development Partnership, Community Teamwork, and Southeast Asian Coalition of Central MA- also received awards.  MACDC’s award, in the core area of creating long-lasting, community-driven policy, systems, and environmental changes, will focus on addressing the health hazards posed by lead paint and poor indoor air quality. 

In order to address racial health inequities resulting from poor housing quality, MACDC will concentrate its initial work in 5 Gateway Cities which we will select based on need and on the potential to address the problems identified. In these cities, ultimately, we aim to secure new resources to address housing quality problems that impact health, and substantially improve housing quality. Our immediate focus will be on intensive community engagement in these cities: with municipal leaders, CDCs, community residents, and other grassroots organizations. With these community representatives, we will identify the local housing quality problems and their health manifestations, particularly for households of color and low-income households.  

Concurrently, MACDC will: 

Commission a report, which will document the extent of housing quality problems linked to lead paint and poor indoor air quality statewide, document the resources and programs available to address these problems, and identify the gaps in addressing the housing quality problems, and their disproportionate impact on the populations described in the prior paragraph.  

Work to secure new resources to significantly improve the housing quality in these cities, and thereby improve resident health. Ultimately, the plan is to utilize the knowledge gained from the local work, and the additional resources secured, to scale up efforts to address housing quality problems in communities across the Commonwealth. 

The HQH Equity Initiative will build upon the work of the HQH Task Force, a group of experienced practitioners consisting of advocates in the health equity, housing, elder and disability fields; healthcare providers; and data professionals- who have guided MACDC’s housing quality and health work over the past year. 

The work will be co-staffed at MACDC by Elana Brochin, Program Director for Health Equity, and Don Bianchi, Director of Housing. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Don at donb@macdc.org.


MACDC Resident Leadership Academy trainers attend Kripalu

November 2nd, 2022 by John Fitterer

In August and September of 2022, the Resident Leadership Academy had the wonderful opportunity to send our staff Sarah Byrnes, Resident Leadership Academy Director and Tiana Lawrence, Mel King Institute Program Associate along with several RLA trainers to participate in the overnight Retreat and Renewal program at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA. Kripalu is a well-known nonprofit educational organization that is centered on centuries-old teachings of yoga, mindfulness, and both personal and communal transformation. CLICK HERE to read more.


In Memory of Thomas Ruffen

September 3rd, 2022 by

The Mel King Institute mourns the passing of Thomas Ruffen, who worked as a trainer at our Resident Leadership Academy. Thomas was an incredibly gifted organizer and community leader. His death is a senseless tragedy for the Mildred C. Hailey community and beyond. He will be missed by our staff, trainers, and the public housing residents he trained throughout Massachusetts.

In March the Mel King Institute recorded Thomas telling the story of how he, other residents, and GBIO secured $50 million in badly needed funding for Mildred C. Hailey. The story is available here.


Why you should attend MACDC's Convention and 40th Anniversary Celebration

August 31st, 2022 by Joe Kriesberg

As summer begins to wind down, many of us are beginning to plan our calendars for the fall. As you begin to do this, you will want to make sure that you include the MACDC Convention and Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 29 at Polar Park in Worcester (and online via Zoom).

The MACDC Convention (which happens just once every four years!) is always a special event.  It is not only the biggest community development event on the calendar in Massachusetts, but it is also a special opportunity to advance our theme for the day: United Communities Building Together!

Given the challenges of the past two-plus years, the need for unity and collective action within the community development field has never been greater.  That is why this event will bring together everyone in our field - CDC board members, community leaders, tenants, community development professionals, public officials, private sector allies, and others for day of celebration and collective action.  It will offer a unique set of opportunities:  

 

An opportunity to pause and celebrate

 

Notwithstanding the challenges and heartaches of the past two-plus years, indeed because of them, the Convention offers an important opportunity to pause and celebrate. And thankfully we have many exciting things to celebrate, including MACDC’s 40th anniversary as the policy and capacity building arm of the community development field.  We will recognize the extraordinary resiliency of our field and our communities in the face of unprecedented challenges. We will celebrate outstanding individuals and organizations that have made a difference in people’s lives. And we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Community Investment Tax Credit – an example of what we can accomplished when we come together as a field to shape state policy.

 

An opportunity to build power and shape state policy

While we have much to celebrate, we also have much to left to do. So, this Convention, like our past events, will also focus on the future and taking collective action to shape it for the better.

One of the key elements of our Convention will be the Gubernatorial Candidate Forum.  The winner of the Governor’s race has attended our Convention for each of the past four election cycles and each time we have engaged those candidates with specific questions about their policy agenda and requested their support for specific policies. In response, the candidates have embraced key MACDC priorities such as the Small Business Technical Assistance program, the Community Investment Tax Credit, and closing racial homeownership disparities.  We will be inviting both of this year’s candidates to come and speak with us and to answer specific questions about their proposed policy agenda.   This will be our chance to demonstrate the power of United Communities, Building Together to the next Governor.

 

An opportunity to build your network

Regardless of your connection to the community development field, this event deserves a spot on your fall calendar because the Convention is always fun, inspiring, educational, and most importantly, impactful.  The MACDC Convention will offer something for everyone:

CDC Board members can connect with fellow board members across CDCs and learn about how they are addressing various challenges and opportunities in their organizations and communities. 

Tenants, community members, and other neighborhood activists can network with and learn from others doing similar work, while also joining with the broader movement to build power and push for major policy change.

Community development professionals can connect with longstanding colleagues and expand their professional networks

Private sector leaders from foundations, financial institutions, small businesses, real estate firms, and others can re-connect with colleagues, get to know more CDCs and community development professionals, and demonstrate support for the CDC field.

MACDC Alumni, including former board members, staff, and interns, can rejoin the movement and see the results of their hard work at MACDC.

 

An opportunity to pay it forward

Of course, none of this happens without you and others making the trip to Worcester or joining us on-line. The magic of the convention is the scale and diversity of who is there.  Your presence will make the networking and relationship building more impactful for everyone who attends.  Your presence will help us honor our award winners and give meaning to the 40th anniversary celebration.  Your presence will help us build momentum for our racial equity work. Your presence will help drive our policy agenda and make a powerful impression on the next Governor.  Your presence will demonstrate the collective power of United Communities, Building Together.

We look forward to seeing you!


Multi-Family Housing Requirement in MBTA Communities: Final Guidelines Issued

August 22nd, 2022 by Don Bianchi

On August 10th, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) published the final guidelines to determine compliance with section 3A of the Zoning Act—the new requirement for every MBTA community to have at least one zoning district in which multi-family housing is allowed as of right, and which is located near a transit station, if applicable. 

The final guidelines incorporated changes from the draft guidelines, in response to extensive stakeholder comments, outlined in a letter to local officials.

EOHED is holding a webinar on September 8th at 1 p.m. to go over the guidelines; if you go to the guidelines page, and scroll down toward the bottom, you can register for the webinar.  

 


DHCD Rental Housing Awards Announced in Falmouth

August 18th, 2022 by Don Bianchi

Despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and significant increases in construction and other costs, project sponsors continue to develop much-needed affordable housing, with the ongoing support of the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). On July 26th, in Falmouth, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, DHCD Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox, and local officials announced awards for 26 affordable housing developments, which collectively will create or preserve 1,474 rental homes, with 1,326 of these being affordable. 

Eight of the projects were sponsored, or co-sponsored, by MACDC’s Members.  Collectively they compose 368 units, with 316 of these being affordable. They include the following: 

  • Anchor Point II in Beverly, sponsored by Harborlight Community Partners, is the second phase of a new construction project for families. It will offer 39 apartments, all affordable. Construction is well underway on the adjacent Anchor Point I project. 
  • Carol Avenue Rehab is an existing family housing project located in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Sponsored by Allston-Brighton CDC, the project will feature 33 fully rehabilitated units, including 25 affordable units. 
  • In Nubian Square in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, Nuestra Comunidad, in partnership with Windale Developers, will newly construct Bartlett Station V.  When completed, the project, which will be built to Passive House standards, will offer 44 total units, including 33 affordable units. 
  • Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) will newly construct Aileron in East Boston, which will provide 36 units, all affordable. 
  • 2085 Washington Street is a new construction, mixed-income project located in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. Madison Park Development Corporation, in partnership with Trinity Financial, is sponsoring the project, which will be built to Passive House standards, and will provide 64 rental units, 44 of them affordable. 
  • Lincoln School, in Brockton, is an historic adaptive re-use project, sponsored by NeighborWorks Housing Solutions. When completed, the project will offer 37 total units for seniors, all affordable. 
  • Just A Start will newly construct 52 New Street in Cambridge. The project, which will be built to Passive House standards will provide 107 units, including 97 affordable units. 
  • Hillman Firehouse Restoration in New Bedford is a historic adaptive re-use project, sponsored by Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE).  When construction is completed, the project will offer eight total units, including 5 affordable units. 

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