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CUOMO SAYS HUD WILL WORK WITH FAITH-BASED GROUPS AND OTHERS TO CREATE HOUSING, JOBS AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today said HUD will work more closely with national religious groups, other faith-based organizations, foundations, banks, non-profit groups and social service providers to create more affordable housing, jobs and economic opportunity for Americans in need.
HUD's Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships will coordinate the effort, which is designed to help faith-based housing and community development programs in impoverished communities succeed, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the effort was initiated at a recent day-long summit on faith-based community and economic development held at HUD. The Enterprise Foundation and the National Congress for Community Economic Development were co-conveners of the meeting.
"Our challenge is to engage partners in a new way to support the critical housing and community development efforts of faith-based organizations," Cuomo said. "Government can't do this alone. Churches, synagogues, other faith-based groups, non-profits, businesses, financial institutions and universities can't do this alone. But together, by combining our strategies, resources and commitment, we can build communities of opportunity and bring economic and social justice to our nation's poorest communities."
Participating organizations included: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Christian Community Development Association, Congress of National Black Churches, Eastern College, Episcopal Church, Ford Foundation, Faith Center for Community Development, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, ITC/Faithworks, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mercy Housing, McAuley Institute, National Council of Churches, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, New Hampshire College, Northwestern University's Asset-based Community Development Institute, Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist Church, and World Vision.
Father Joseph Hacala, S.J., Director of HUD's Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships, said: "This first-time meeting of national organizations with a faith-based community development focus is historic for HUD. It represents the beginning of new partnerships, and a new level of commitment to the empowerment of poor neighborhoods."
The event was one in a series of dialogues being sponsored by the Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships as part of Cuomo's efforts to expand HUD's reach into communities and to pursue new and creative ways to partner. The Center was established by Cuomo to ensure that community and faith-based organizations have access to HUD and its resources, and are fully integrated into the broader housing and development strategies of their communities.
At the end of the full-day meeting, participants committed to continue the dialogue and to expand it to include other partners. They also identified several key issues for ongoing consideration, including: sharing information, best practices and research data; improving communications; and increasing collaboration and fostering partnerships on issues and resources affecting faith-based community development.
Many attendees highlighted the important opportunity to coordinate with colleagues.
"Meeting the people here and learning about their programs' focus and means of implementation will make my work easier, and more effective," said Carole Thompson of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Participants acknowledged that while this meeting may be a first for national organizations, partnerships of this kind are already occurring in communities across the nation. As this collaborative continues its dialogue, Hacala highlighted the importance of seeking the guidance of those doing the hands-on work to empower and revitalize America's communities.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009