I recently returned from a trip to the waterfront town of New Bern, North Carolina after attending the 2017 North Carolina Community Development Association’s annual Spring conference. If you haven’t been to New Bern, it’s a worthwhile trip – a beautiful town at the intersection of the Trent and Neuse rivers with a quaint downtown area and great seafood! I’d have to recommend MJ’s Raw Bar and Grille for the best crab cakes outside of Maryland!
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend presentations by representatives of the NC Housing Finance Agency, HUD, the USDA, and the NC Housing Coalition. Any community development conference is always a great opportunity for networking, but what really stuck out was the obvious passion the Community Development managers had for their own communities across North Carolina.
As an event sponsor, Neighborly Software was able to interact with many different community development organizations, large and small. I took advantage of breaks between training sessions to showcase our software to many interested parties, in hopes that the event attendees can see what benefits our team could offer theirs!
A hot topic of discussion at most meals and networking breaks revolved around the future of community development and the potential for federal budget cuts, which you can read more about in our recent blog post. While the future of grants like CDBG and HOME are uncertain, the spirit of perseverance among conference attendees was unwavering. It was clear that with or without federal funding, NC community leaders will find a way to serve their communities and address the needs of the low- to moderate-income community.
Throughout the duration of the conference, I had a chance to sit down with representatives from the North Carolina HUD field offices to discuss the ways in which Neighborly Software can help minimize administrative effort and cost while maximizing investment into the community. While I was able to share meals with new friends, increase exposure for Neighborly Software and attend some great speeches, my only conference regret is that I missed out on the bus tour of downtown New Bern! We had some last-minute requests that required me to hang back and conduct a few demos, but alas it was a work trip and duty calls sometimes!
I look forward to next year’s NCCDA conference!