Accessing Resources and Relationships
to Build Better Communities in Florida

[Photo 1: Polk and Hillsborough County Volunteers]
Hillsborough and Polk County staff and volunteers helped in a variety of capacities, including placing material into more than 500 conference bags. Particularly important were books on "Building the Organizations that Build Better Communities" provided by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R).

TAMPA - On May 7 & 8, 2007, faith and nonprofit organizations seeking to utilize federal resources to improve their communities gathered for a two day statewide conference at the Tampa Convention Center. Federal, state and local Organizations, led by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), presented 52 workshops to over 650 attendees.

Keynote speakers included Anna Maria Farias, HUD's Acting Director of the Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives; Pam Iorio, Mayor of Tampa; Rick Baker, Mayor of St. Petersburg; Reverend Dr. Fred Lucas, President of the Faith Center for Community Development in New York City; and Reverend McKinley Young, Presiding Bishop, 11th District, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Jacksonville, Florida.

[Photo 2: Bishop Young]
Keynote speaker on Day Two: The Right Reverend McKinley Young, Presiding Bishop, Eleventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Prior to the conference, Ms. Farias commented "from the logic behind electronic grant applications, to securing federal funds, to the challenges of caring for the population with HIV/AIDS, HUD's statewide conference will offer very valuable information from federal, state and local organizations that serve the most frail in our communities." Participants' comments regarding general sessions and intensive workshops proved Ms. Farias' statement to be an accurate assessment.

Attendees received information from many major entities, including: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg; the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa; the counties of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Polk; Freddie Mac; the United States
[Photo 3: Aileen, Chloe, DAS FARIAS, KJS]
Day One opening session included (L to R) Aileen Rodriguez, Regional Director, Office of Senator Mel Martinez; Chloe Coney, District Director for Congresswoman Cathy Castor; Anna Maria Farias, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary; and Karen Jackson Sims, Director, Tampa HUD Field Office
Departments of HUD, Health and Human Services, Labor, Agriculture, and Internal Revenue; the Census Bureau; the Small Business Administration; the Centers for Disease Control; the University of South Florida; the Florida Housing Finance Agency; and the State of Florida's Departments of Health, Homelessness, Education,and Community Affairs.

Fifty two (52) interactive educational sessions covered a broad range of housing and community issues, including: the revised E-Logic Model for federal grant applications; building economically strong communities; understanding the role of faith-based organizations in hurricane recovery; dealing with the growing issue of homelessness; the ongoing need for affordable housing; the HIV/AIDS challenge within minority populations; fair housing enforcement; and partnering with federal,
[Photo 4: Packed House]
This "first time ever" statewide faith based conference attracted participants from areas throughout Florida.
State and local resource providers to promote healthy, vibrant and viable communities. Concurrently, HUD offered its two-day curriculum entitled "The Art and Science of Grant Writing Training."

A special note of thanks goes out to Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg for organizing the registration process and the Polk County VISTA volunteers for their untiring efforts in support of the conference.

Content Archived: July 11, 2011