LAKE WORTH, FL. — Late last week, the National Development Council (NDC) officially announced the semi-finalists for the NDC Academy 2013 Awards. The Lake Worth Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP-2) Consortium is one of six semi-finalists in the Housing Development category. Projects were submitted by communities from across the country.

The fifth biennial NDC Academy is a three-day training and networking event that will take place April 16-18 in Washington, DC. The NDC Academy brings together professionals in economic and housing development from all over the nation. The Academy’s theme is “Delivering Community Results in Difficult Times . . . More Important than Ever.”

The NDC Academy 2013 Awards is a special feature of the Academy which allows attendees to learn about innovative community development projects from the people who made them happen, as well as celebrate the important work done in underserved communities throughout the country. NDC has selected six projects in each category that exemplify work in Creative Financing, Job Creation, Housing Development and Community Development. Voting will take place during the Academy sessions, and attendees will be given the opportunity to vote for the project they believe to be most impactful. One project in each category will be awarded the top honor at an Academy 2013 Awards luncheon on Thursday, April 18.
“Response to the call for projects this year was overwhelming and the quality of projects and work done to improve communities across the nation are truly impressive,” said Robert W. Davenport, President of NDC. “Congratulations to all of our semi-finalists. We are looking forward to the learning more about their projects at the Academy.”

The Project

Beginning in 2010, the Lake Worth NSP-2 Consortium undertook a significant housing redevelopment effort. With just over $23M from the federal government through the Neighborhood Stabilization Grant, the CRA, as lead agency, put together a team of almost twenty partners that together, acquired foreclosed dilapidated property in a very specific and targeted area of the City, completed substantial rehabilitation on the homes and then sold or rented the units to income qualified families or individuals. Main development partners included Adopt-a-Family of the Palm Beaches, Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach, the Urban Group, the City of Lake Worth, Housing Partnership, Stuart and Shelby, Cannatelli Builders  and Housing Leadership of Palm Beach County. While creating this comprehensive implementation plan, careful thought and consideration was given to providing a complete program of stability and self-sufficiency. Classes and opportunities were incorporated into the program, such as budgeting, credit counseling and individual deposit accounts were offered to help people save. Training was also offered for residents at Palm Beach State College. The CRA was responsible for purchasing all the properties for the program and conveyed most to partners, while keeping 20 for development by the CRA. In conjunction with another CRA program, called LULA – Lake Worth Arts, the CRA focused on a specific group of individuals to help revitalize the area: artists. By integrating arts and arts-related activities into the stabilization plan, the local arts community was able to not only participate but grow in strength and numbers, providing additional opportunities for artists to live and practice their craft. Due to the diverse community, the Consortium took specific efforts to engage people of all ethnic backgrounds. By marketing the program in various languages and in a multitude of ways, the program was able to attract a very diverse and culturally rich mix of new residents. The project also paid close attention to the CRA/ City’s commitment to the environment and embraced not only cost cutting improvements to benefit the homeowners but environmentally sensitive materials, appliances and methods, leading to green certification.

“The City’s rebirth is underway with over 100 new homes and homeowners now experiencing the unique and charming qualities of this City. Nowhere else can you enjoy an authentic downtown, a newly renovated beach  complex, unmatched recreational opportunities, cultural arts and the sense of community that exists in Lake Worth. This was a remarkable opportunity for the CRA, the City and all our committed partners and I hope we can continue to work together and be the catalyst for more positive change here in the City.” says Joan Oliva, Executive Director of the Lake Worth CRA.

“The CRA is honored that such a prestigious organization as the National Development Council would recognize our Neighborhood Stabilization efforts in creating jobs, reconnecting underserved communities and becoming a catalyst for future economic development and investment in the City,” said CRA Board Chair Cary Sabol.

For more information about the Lake Worth CRA and its programs, please call the CRA office at (561) 493-
2550 or visit www.lakeworthcra.org or www.lakeworthnsp.org.

About NDC

The National Development Council is one of the oldest national non-profit community and economic development organizations in the U.S. It was founded in 1969 with one purpose: increasing the flow of capital for investment, jobs and community development to underserved urban and rural areas across the country.

Since that time, NDC has worked with thousands of communities in every one of the 50 states and Puerto Rico, providing technical assistance, professional training, investment in affordable housing, small business financing and direct developer services. Our work has taken many forms, but we have kept pace with the needs of our constituents, adding new programs and services or updating old ones. More information at nationaldevelopmentcouncil.org

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