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Community Development Receives the John A. Sasso Award, Again!

City Community Development Receives John A. Sasso Award
Posted: June 21, 2017

On Monday, June 19, 2017, the National Community Development Association (NCDA) recognized the City of Columbia Community Development Department as one of the winners of the 2017 John A. Sasso National Community Development Week Award during a special luncheon at the 48th NCDA Annual Conference in Miami, FL.

The award was created as a means of recognizing community efforts to promote and celebrate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program during National Community Development Week which was celebrated this year on April 19 – April 22, 2017. National Community Development Week provides the opportunity for grantees, sub-recipients, beneficiaries, State and local partners, and the community to unite to celebrate and recognize CDBG and HOME by showcasing projects and educating the community and Congressional Members on program benefits.

This year marks the 31st anniversary of National Community Development Week and the 17th anniversary of the John A. Sasso National Community Development Week Award. CDBG and HOME allocated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the CDBG and HOME programs form the bedrock of federal assistance to local communities. Both programs have been shrinking in recent years due to federal budget cuts. Since fiscal year 2010, CDBG has been cut by over 20% while the HOME program has been cut by over 50%; causing reductions in local programs that provide community development and affordable housing assistance. The National Community Development Week and the John A. Sasso National CD Week Award provides the opportunity to increase funding and draw national attention to both programs.

The National Community Development Week Awards are named in honor of John A. Sasso, NCDA’s founder and leading force in nationally promoting CDBG, NCDA, and its members. In 1970, John Sasso became the first President of the Model Cities Community Development Directors Association (MCCDDA). MCCDDA eventually became the National Community Development Association after passage of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, which created the CDBG program. John began his tenure in the field of community development as a Planner for the City of Pawtucket, RI. He retired from NCDA in 2000. Sadly, John passed August 2016.

NCDA is a non-partisan, national non-profit membership-based organization that represents local government departments across the country that administer federally-supported community and economic development and affordable housing programs. NCDA is an association of people committed to assist local governments to achieve high quality, locally responsive programs for making communities better places to live and work, particularly for low and moderate income people.

The City of Columbia was recognized due to the week-long activities that were hosted in honor of National Community Development Week. The Community Development Department staff set up an exhibit full of CDBG and HOME program information and Community Development pop up banners. The City hosted a large press conference with news media, a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Lyon Street neighborhood, and a large community block party featuring free food, games, and music. The City also planned a special media blitz involving social media posts, website announcements, press releases, program beneficiaries, elected officials, television and radio interviews, and other dignitaries.


The City’s Public and Media Relations Department sent out information about National Community Development Week to local media outlets, uploading it to the City’s website and posting it on the City’s social media platforms, setup television and radio interviews, and produced public service announcements to be aired on radio stations. Columbia’s National Community Development Week culminated in all of the activities that were hosted. The press conference attended by local elected officials, neighborhood leaders, City staff, Columbia residents, and news and print media. The Lyon Street neighborhood ribbon cutting ceremony attended by local elected officials, neighborhood leaders, Columbia residents, Columbia Housing Authority, City of Columbia and Richland County community development staff, and news and print media. The Community Block Party attended by Columbia residents, City and County staff, news and print media, radio stations (Alpha Media) and (iHeart Radio). During the week-long National Community Development Week celebration, Community Development staff informed Columbia residents about the CDBG and HOME programs.

For more information, please contact Community Development at (803) 545-3373.
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