It’s spring, and here at Housing Action Illinois, we believe it’s a good time to welcome opportunities for growth. Since this season is all about change, we’d like to share how being a part of national networks changes Housing Action for the better, and how it helps to build our organizational capacity to benefit our statewide membership.
One such national network is the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. NACEDA unifies the voices of more than 4,000 community development organizations through its base of 45 state, regional and local member associations. That’s huge! This national network transmits vital resources, expertise, and peer support to every practitioner working within its nexus. Working together also allows us to better understand the ways that practitioners are improving lives, building prosperity, and ultimately maximizing a community’s potential.
Sharing knowledge strengthens organizations and increases impact. NACEDA catalyzes innovation, improves communication among all of its members, and gets us out into the field and on the ground where positive change is happening.
How do we know? Because Housing Action and our members have directly benefited from the knowledge we’ve gained through NACEDA. For example, NACEDA connected us with the Ohio CDC Association, which provided us with a blueprint for a large-scale project to provide capacity building support to our member organizations here in Illinois. The Ohio CDC’s VISTA Project has placed AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) service members with their member organizations since 1995. Combating poverty is a VISTA’s full-time job, and building the capacity of their host organizations is how they do it. We thought that this project was so impressive that we created our own Illinois Affordable Housing Support Project. Since 2010, our VISTA members have raised over $3.2 million in cash and in-kind funds for participating organizations. (FYI, we’re hiring for 30 full year positions and 34 ten-week long summer associate positions! Tell your friends!)
People & Places. We understand that we must work collaboratively and support each other so that we can continue to achieve broad change together. To do this, we must stay connected. Fortunately, NACEDA and other national membership organizations have done the footwork for us. The People & Places 2017 conference is expected to bring together hundreds of placemakers, partners, and supporters from throughout the U.S. in for three days of learning, collaboration and networking. Several Housing Action staff members will be in attendance, including our Executive Director Sharon Legenza, who is currently serving as the Chair of NACEDA’s Board of Directors. We hope you can join us in Arlington, VA from May 31 to June 2.