National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations                               July 28, 2022

Federal News 

CRA Comment Period Ends Friday, August 5

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) shapes how financial institutions behave in low- and moderate-income communities and how they deploy resources through the community development industry. We strongly encourage community developers to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to affect CRA regulations by submitting comments. Our CRA webpage offers instructions on how to comment, resources and samples to help you draft a comment letter, and NACEDA’s full draft comment letter outlining our top priorities for CRA reform.

“The rule proposed by regulators is a marked improvement over the status quo, but it is far from ambitious,” said NACEDA Executive Director Frank Woodruff. “Significant changes are needed to fully seize the opportunity in front of us to close the racial wealth gap and drive investment resources to areas the private market cannot or will not serve.”

NACEDA’s comment letter lists seven priority areas of improvement for the proposed rule. They include comments suggesting how CRA can incorporate race into exams, clarifying the role of community-based development organizations, ensuring more banks have community development responsibilities and making more CRA-related data public, among other top priorities.

NACEDA hosted webinars for our members on July 25 and 26 to help state and regional community development and affordable housing organizations craft comment letters. To access recordings and slides, contact Chanse Sonsalla at [email protected]. Earlier this month, Frank Woodruff and NCRC Senior Advisor Josh Silver briefed members of the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development and Georgia Advancing Communities Together on the proposed CRA rule changes. Access the recording.

Need information on how to submit your letter? See NACEDA’s drafts. We have both a short-form letter and our full organizational draft letter from which partners and members are welcome to draw ideas and inspiration.

August 5 may be our last chance to drive CRA assertively toward our shared goals. Now is the time!

NACEDA’s July Summit Focused on Shaping Narratives to Gain Support

The NACEDA Summit Series continued on July 14 with a robust discussion on how to shape the narrative to gain support for policy changes in different housing markets and political contexts. It featured Jenny Schuetz, author of Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing System, housing and community development leaders representing California’s East Bay region and the state of Indiana, and a dynamic Q&A with audience members. During peer-learning sessions, NACEDA members had the opportunity to share challenges and solutions around narrative development, their federal policy strategies, and the demands of organizational leadership. And, NACEDA members and partners from Ohio and South Carolina discussed how their capacity-building programs can strengthen community developers’ ability to use resources effectively and help communities thrive.

There are two more summits to come! You can still register for the final two days of the series: September 15 and November 17. The July 14 summit was made possible by Truist, our Premier Day Sponsor. 

Frank Woodruff Will Discuss Grounding Values Study at Prosperity Summit

NACEDA Executive Director, Frank Woodruff, will speak at the plenary research forum of the Prosperity Summit on September 19-21 in Atlanta, Georgia. He will discuss NACEDA’s Grounding Values Study, which includes the first comprehensive national census of community-based development organizations in 20 years. Hosted bi-annually by Prosperity Now, the Prosperity Summit's mission is to convene all people with the shared goal of creating a more equitable economy to discuss how to reduce wealth inequity and open the door to opportunity for everyone, especially people of color, in the United States. Register by August 5 to receive the early bird discount. 

Grounding Values is a three-year research study (2021–2023) on the financial health, programs, production, and services of community-based development organizations throughout the U.S. NACEDA hired the Urban Institute, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy research organization, to conduct the study. The national census survey of community-based development organizations will be open from September 14 – October 26. Become a Grounding Values Partner!

Member News
Arizona Housing Trust Fund Increased from $2.5M to $60M

Congratulations to the Arizona Housing Coalition on a major win! The legislature and governor approved a bipartisan budget that appropriates $60 million for the Housing Trust Fund. One-third of the funding is earmarked for affordable housing in rural areas. Another $4 million will go to affordable housing programs for tribal nations.

Joan Serviss, Executive Director of the Arizona Housing Coalition, explained that the Housing Trust Fund has been their key legislative priority since it was capped at $2.5 million during the Great Recession in 2012. Previously funded by the sale of unclaimed properties, Arizona’s Housing Trust Fund had provided $10 million to $20 million a year to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness.

“We were successful in securing a one-time $15 million infusion back in 2019, which proved invaluable when the coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head. It was the Housing Trust Fund that helped bolster our state’s eviction prevention program,” Serviss said.  “We’re hoping to leverage these funds appropriated by state lawmakers with the Governor’s COVID-19 ARPA dollars to combat skyrocketing inflation, rising costs of labor, materials, and land values. And we want to supplement shovel-ready projects that just need gap financing but missed out from receiving tax credits from our oversubscribed low-income housing tax credit program,” she noted.

Funding & Job Opportunities
General Operating Support Grant for Grassroots Organization

The Grassroots Organizing Grant Program from Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is due by 4 pm Eastern on August 15. The grant offers one-year general operating support of up to $30,000 to grassroots organizations that are working to create systems change through community organizing and movement-building efforts. 

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