Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Stimulus Reaches Central Dallas CDC!

Some very good news came into our office yesterday. Central Dallas CDC was awarded a grant in the amount of $695,625 from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. This is the first money we’ve received from the almost $800 million in spending approved in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The purpose of ARRA was to get the economy going again, but only 11% on the money, mostly for highway projects, has gotten out the door in the first six months. That’s understandable. It takes time for programs to get written, requests for proposals issued, the proposals submitted and the grant awards to be made. Six months is fast for government work, but the goal of stimulating the economy isn’t going as fast as any of us would like. Still, it’s more important for the funds to be used well, rather than quickly, and I think by the time we’re done everyone will see that we’re using the money wisely.

The money is going to be used for a joint program between Central Dallas CDC (, the buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (, and Central Dallas Ministries ( that we’re calling the Neighborhood Revitalization Corps. I’ll publish the summary of our plan tomorrow, but the basic idea is to work together to try to touch every house in a ten-block area, about 160 properties, to see if that concentrated effort can make a real difference. To see if we can change the neighborhood.

Central Dallas CDC will be doing fundraising, managing the grant, documenting the expenditures and working with owners of rental housing in the neighborhood to repair or otherwise improve the rental housing. The bcWorkshop will be designing homes, building houses, managing repair work and working with homeowners in the neighborhood. Central Dallas Ministries will be supplying the labor in the form of forty-five AmeriCorps members, many of whom we hope to recruit from the neighborhood we’ll be working in and providing some of the other services—medical, legal, job training—needed in the neighborhood..

And, for those of you who care about such things, the total administrative cost for improving at least 100 homes in the neighborhood will be no more than $34,781.25. That means the partners in the NRC will put over $670,000 in direct improvements into the neighborhood, which will go a long way with most of the labor supplied at no cost by AmeriCorps members like those that have been working in the Congo Street Green Initiative.

We can hardly wait to get started!

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