NACCED held its Annual Educational Conference and Training September 10-13th in Portland, Oregon. The event was hosted by the local Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. The event kicked-off with the first ever HUD Brainstorming session. This new addition to the program allowed attendees to get those sticky questions for HUD on the table. The session brought many thoughtful questions to the surface and also spurred important discussions. A list of final questions was sent to HUD officials and were addressed during the HUD briefing on Monday morning of the conference. This session also offered another first for the conference as NACCED members were joined with NWACDM members. The Northwest Association of Community Development Managers (NWACDM) is an organization of CDBG and HOME entitlement communities from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and this year they held their annual conference in conjunction with NACCED’s. It was a great opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with innovative leaders in the Northwest!
Also on Sunday NACCED held its committee meetings. The housing committee had a guest speaker from the local organization Bridge Meadows. Bridge Meadows is an intergenerational living community that provides a unique neighborhood model to serve foster youth, adoptive parents, and seniors. Renee Moseley from the organization explained the dynamic outcomes of pairing seniors with foster children and their parents in everything from childcare, to tutoring, to mentorship. You can learn more about their groundbreaking model at their website here: https://www.bridgemeadows.org.
The Community Development, Economic Development, Education, and Membership Committees also had thought-provoking discussions. The Community Development Committee looked at best practices for using CDBG funds for infrastructure activities and combining them with HOME projects. The Economic Development Committee had a timely discussion on using CDBG Disaster Recovery and other funds to help spur economic development following a natural disaster. The Education Committee started their meeting with the theme music for NACCED’s new podcast and NACCED staff gave a brief overview of the first episode that aired at the end of August. Discussion also included future podcast ideas and educational and training opportunities for NACCED. The Membership Committee talked about strategy for building membership in 2018 and potentially adding a new membership category for students.
The main conference commenced Monday morning with a welcome from NACCED President Chuck Robbins, Jim Bernard, Chair of Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, Deborah Kafoury, Chair of Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, and a video welcome from Senator Patty Murray (WA). The morning general sessions included a briefing from HUD’s new Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Neal Rackleff, along with Stan Gimont, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs and Adam Norlander, Special Assistant, Office of Community Planning and Development. The morning was finished off with a general session with Israel Bayer of Street Roots. Israel shared his experience working to find solutions to homelessness in the Pacific Northwest.
In the afternoon, attendees chose from three different breakout session tracks, Policy, Housing, and Technology and Services, that featured sessions regarding everything from public-private partnerships to fair housing strategies. You can view the full program on our website here. The day ended with the annual John C. Murphy Scholarship Fund Silent Auction at the Portland Housing Bureau Rooftop. This year, given the devastation in due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the NACCED Board and Scholarship Committee Chair decided to donate 100% of the proceeds raised at this year’s silent auction to hurricane relief efforts. It was an exciting opportunity to be able to award the scholarship this year to a deserving student based in Ramsey County, MN as well as aid in the relief efforts. The auction included a number of great gift baskets, local delicacies, and homemade items. The grand total raised was $2,050! It was a great night and an extra special thanks is due to the Portland Housing Bureau for covering the costs of the venue and to ZoomGrants for sponsoring this successful event.
Tuesday was another packed day, starting off with a video welcome from Senator Ron Wyden (OR), and Kenny LaPoint from Oregon Housing and Community Services. The morning general session was presented by Amanda Saul, Enterprise Community Partners, Julia Doty, NW Housing Alternatives, and Dana Schultz, Central City Concern on the nexus between health and housing. The breakout sessions later that day included diverse topics including tiny homes, Silicon Valley’s response to the housing crisis, and navigating the changing world of low-income housing tax credits.
The luncheon on Tuesday included the NACCED Awards of Excellence ceremony for 2017. There were a number of great applicants this year and the following counties were presented awards during the ceremony:
· Homeless Coordination/Assistance—Community Development Commission of Los Angeles County: Families Coming Home Together
· Community Development—Housing Authority of Los Angeles County: The Growing Experience in Environmental Resource
· Planning/Policy/Program Management—Twin Cities Section 3 Collaborative: An Innovative Regional Certification and Referral System for Contractors and Section 3 Resident Employees, Businesses and Contractors
· Innovation—County of Fairfax, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA): Residences at the Government Center
· Economic Development—Salt Lake County Housing & Community Development: Columbus Secure Shredding Facility Upgrade: Creating Jobs for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
· Affordable Housing—Allegheny County Economic Development: Dave Wright Apartments
· HOME Investment Partnerships Program—County of Essex Division of Housing and Community Development: Essex County HOME Program - Downtown Partners Mixed Income
Also during the luncheon, attendees had the opportunity to hear the conference keynote speaker, Dr. Derek Hyra, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. Dr. Hyra shared his research on neighborhood change, emphasizing housing, urban politics, and race. Many of these concepts are ideas he explored in his recently completed third book, Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City. Dr. Hyra’s research has also been showcased in both academic journals, and popular media outlets, including the British Broadcasting Corporation, Chicago Public Radio, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. It was a special opportunity for attendees to learn from Dr. Hyra’s research and ask questions about how counties can implement these ideas at the local level.
The day concluded with the conference-wide event at the Oregon Zoo. Attendees got a backstage glance at the life of a zookeeper, feeding giraffes and seeing the animals after hours. Following the animal encounters, everyone got their dancing shoes out and boogied on the dance floor!
The conference finished with a bus tour on Wednesday morning. The tour was put on by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and explored the hidden discriminatory history of Portland. Three featured speakers told their personal stories of discrimination, starting with Beatrice Cannon Gilmore who told the story of her family coming to Portland in the 1940s. She and her family lived through the Vanport flood that wiped out an entire African American community in the Portland suburbs. Valerie Otani, a local artist who designed the traditional Japanese gates in the Portland Expo Center Max Station, described the horrific conditions Japanese-Americans faced in the internment camps during World War II. Finally, Randy Blazak shared stories about his time doing an undercover study of the skinheads and other hate groups and some of the violent acts they perpetrated against African Americans in the Portland area. It was a sobering look at how discriminatory practices can affect communities.
Thank you to all the speakers, sponsors, hosts, and volunteers that made this year’s conference possible. It is because of NACCED’s dedicated members and partners that we are able to have successful events such as this. Please stay tuned for more information coming soon regarding the 43rd NACCED Annual Educational Conference and Training, September 23-26, 2018 at The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, MN. We can’t wait to see you all there!