Just about the same time the Department was putting the finishing touches on a final rule to remove barriers to participation in HUD programs by faith-based and community organizations, a group of ministers in Petersburg were taking the first steps to tap the opportunities that rule will create to better serve their communities.
Bishop Douglas Wilson hosted the event for 60 diverse faith-based and community organizations at the New Life Worship Center Capacity-Building Seminar.
Rosalyn Dance, mayor of Petersburg, welcomed participants to the first quarterly "Redemption Ministries" Capacity-Building Seminar.
"We want to assist the faith community to build a more solid infrastructure," said Kenneth Middleton, regional director of Redemption Ministries that, with HUD Richmond, convened a meeting last fall of more than 60 representatives of faith-based organizations in the area.
The purpose of what will now be quarterly capacity-building meetings of the group, said Middleton, is for faith-based organizations to "become a little more sophisticated in their service delivery."
Anne Davis, the faith-based liaison for HUD Richmond, explained how the Administration and HUD are removing long-standing barriers and outlined how HUD competitively awards funding for housing and community development activities.
Penny Johnson, community development officer for Wachovia Bank, described private sector programs intended to promote job growth and housing development. Wayne Watkins, area director for Prison Fellowship Ministries, urged Petersburg area congregations to support a toy drive so that some 4,000 children of incarcerated Virginians would have "something under their trees on Christmas morning."
Those who attended the meeting left full of confidence that the ministers and their congregations have the human capacity to put the Department's resources to work in their communities.