This past week my teammate (Tanya Rustin, Client Success Manager) and I had the pleasure of attending the National Community Development Association (NCDA) Conference in beautiful Jacksonville, Florida. This was not just any annual conference, this was the 50th Anniversary, honoring the past and celebrating the future of this great organization. Everywhere you went during the conference, references to the 50th Anniversary were loud and proud. This got me thinking about the big “Five-O”…not because my 50th birthday is near, but rather 50 years is a long time!
For those of you that didn’t know, in 1968 Congress passed legislation authorizing the Model Cities Program which was the response to President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” by providing funding for a variety of services targeting health, education, transportation, and housing, to name a few. The Model Cities Program became the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program in 1974, and in 1979 NCDA was formed. The association is committed to assisting local governments administering U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding to achieve high quality, locally responsive programs for making communities better places to live and work.
In its third year as a sponsor, Neighborly Software was proud to share its Housing, Economic, and Community Development software solution to the membership and conference attendees. Our solution is the premiere product to streamline five modules; grant management, loan processing, construction/rehab, relationship management, and affordable housing asset management into one integrated cloud-based software system. The 50th Anniversary of NCDA was their largest attended conference to date with nearly 300 in attendance. Our booth received overwhelming interest and many attendees asked for follow up discussions and demonstrations.
The conference yielded many informative sessions, presentations, and networking events. As a former football player, my favorite evening event was the dinner and tour of TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars; a National Football League (NFL) team. As a former administrator of HUD funds, my favorite session was ‘A Look Back at the Organization’s History’, where seven members from the 70’s and 80’s shared stories and insight to past.
What resonated most with me during the conference was the number of members who are retired or soon to be retiring. Although most local government employees work 25-30 years before retirement, many have worked in this industry for over 35 years and for some, they are still involved and continue to share their knowledge with all of us. Their passion is clear and inspiring. I am also just as much inspired by the growth of the NCDA and the number of new faces that are taking leadership roles. The NCDA has achieved a 30% increase in membership since 2015 and a 143% increase in the number of training courses delivered since 2017.
If you have any association with Housing, Economic, and Community Development programs or funding you have found your home with NCDA. Their foundation is strong, and its vision for the next 50 years is bright. Neighborly Software will see you through that journey by providing a current platform with new and innovative features to better streamline the programs you administer online. We are your committed partner, NCDA sponsor, resource, and friend!