I recently attended the 49th National Community Development Association Conference in Long Beach, CA, along with more than 250 community development professionals from across the country. The recently announced increase in congressional funding for CDBG and HOME featured prominently throughout the conference and set the stage for an exciting and engaging 4 days of training, idea sharing, networking and fun! In addition, the City of Long Beach proved to be an outstanding location for the conference, with scenic views of the waterfront and port, easy access to/from LAX and of course fantastic southern California weather.
This year’s conference had a great slate of sessions and presenters. The conference provided not only a great training opportunity, but also a forum to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing Community Development practitioners, including:
- Difficulty recruiting and retaining contractors
- Offices being over run with paper files
- Inefficient processes being supported by outdated technology or no technology at all (Excel Spreadsheets)
- Increasing compliance reporting requirements
- Overworked staff
At Neighborly Software, we are focused on helping our clients address these challenges. We were fortunate, as a Conference sponsor, to present on the topic of “Using New Technology to Do More with Less.” The goal of this session was to highlight how modern technology can help tackle the aforementioned challenges, ultimately enabling more funding to reach the people in the community who need it most.
Joining us as panelists for this session were two Neighborly Software clients – Jennifer Ferriol, Housing & Community Development Program Manager from City of West Palm Beach, FL and Randy Cole, Housing Programs Director from City of Columbia, MO. Jennifer shared her experience using technology to improve their Home Rehabilitation and Public Service grants programs, and Randy discussed how technology has streamlined Columbia’s servicing of loans, Down Payment Assistance program and the City sponsored Community Land Trust. The session went great and included some excellent questions from the audience!
It was inspiring and humbling to be surrounded by so many individuals dedicated and committed to promoting affordable housing and supporting the needs of those less fortunate in our communities. Having the opportunity to hear their stories and discuss how we can help improve the delivery of their services is what makes these conferences so special. While we’re looking forward to the 50th anniversary conference in Jacksonville, FL next year, we’re excited to see more familiar faces in the regional conferences soon!