Traditionally, the Delaware Housing Coalition has focused on advocacy, public policy, research and the dissemination of data and reports. However, needs and systems change and, recognizing that affordable housing should not exist in a vacuum but rather needs to be closely linked to good schools, transportation, decent paying jobs, and social, recreational and cultural activities, community development was added as a program in 2014.
This decision was made after a year-long strategic planning process with the assistance of third-party consultants who facilitated stakeholder interviews, focus groups and surveys to gauge the needs of the affordable housing and community development fields. The feedback received confirmed our belief that the time was right for DHC to step forward to empower communities, and that with our long history of affordable housing advocacy, as well as our many relationships across all sectors of the industry, that we could be highly effective in this role.
DHC has a historic connection with community development efforts rooted in housing issues with tenants, manufactured housing owners and minority and special populations combatting Fair Housing Law infractions.
What Is Community Development?
“Community development is a set of practices and methods that focus on harnessing the innate abilities and potential that exist in all human communities to become active agents in their own development and to organize themselves to address key issues and concerns that they share, grounded in and focusing on a specific geographic area or place. Community development workers may be members of the community, paid workers or volunteers. They work with and alongside people in the community to identify concerns and opportunities, and develop the confidence and energy to respond together. The building of community and social capital is both a core part of the process and an outcome. In this way there is an extension of cooperative attitudes and practices that are built through community development that can increase community resilience over time.”*
*Adapted from the International Association for Community Development’s definition of the field as posted on the Indiana Association of CED’s website.
Our areas of focus are:
- Direct assistance to communities in the form of capacity building and technical assistance to build healthier communities and promote neighborhood revitalization.
- To build collaboration and capacity building among community development organizations by creating a statewide network to encourage peer learning, share best practices and encourage coordinated public policy advocacy.