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Taking a break from their retreat on the stairs of the Mills Park Hotel are representatives from community development corporations across Ohio. From left, top row, are Suzanne Parks and Nate Coffman of the OCDCA, Tom Reed of Gallia Meigs Community Action Agency, OCDCA Vice President and Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel, Jamar Doyle of  Collinwood and Nottingham Villages Development Corporation and Melissa Miller of OCDCA; middle row, Al Norris of Adams Brown Community Action Partnership, Bambi Baughn of Community Action Commission of Fayette County, Don Corley of WSOS Community Action and Judy Jackson of the National Equity Fund; bottom row, Julie Sparks of ICAN Housing, Lisa Much of OCDCA, Alana Perez of OCDCA, Theresa Saelim of PNC Bank, Steve Torsell of Homes on the Hill CDC and Larry Fisher of ACEnet. (photo by Megan Bachman)

Taking a break from their retreat on the stairs of the Mills Park Hotel are representatives from community development corporations across Ohio. From left, top row, are Suzanne Parks and Nate Coffman of the OCDCA, Tom Reed of Gallia Meigs Community Action Agency, OCDCA Vice President and Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel, Jamar Doyle of Collinwood and Nottingham Villages Development Corporation and Melissa Miller of OCDCA; middle row, Al Norris of Adams Brown Community Action Partnership, Bambi Baughn of Community Action Commission of Fayette County, Don Corley of WSOS Community Action and Judy Jackson of the National Equity Fund; bottom row, Julie Sparks of ICAN Housing, Lisa Much of OCDCA, Alana Perez of OCDCA, Theresa Saelim of PNC Bank, Steve Torsell of Homes on the Hill CDC and Larry Fisher of ACEnet. (photo by Megan Bachman)

CDCs talk community empowerment in YS

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Last week, the Ohio CDC Association, a statewide organization of 160 community development corporations, held its annual retreat in Yellow Springs, thanks to the group’s Board Vice President Emily Seibel of local affordable housing land trust Home, Inc. Home, Inc. is one of two CDCs in Yellow Springs, along with Community Solutions.
During the retreat, some two dozen representatives from CDCs across the state — working on affordable housing, financial empowerment, food access, transportation and economic development — came together to strategize at the Mills Park Hotel and Antioch’s Coretta Scott King Center. Their work impacts the lives of 1 in 10 Ohioans each year, according to Seibel, who will be voted in as board president of the organization this fall.

The Ohio CDC Association, or OCDCA, was fresh off a majority legislative victory where it led a coalition to push for reform of the payday lending industry in Ohio. The poorest Ohioans will save $75 million per year on interest and fees now that the measures are in place, according to Nate Coffman, the group’s executive director.

“It was blatant abuse,” Coffman said. “Their business model is to trap people in debt.”
CDCs were born out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and work hand-in-hand with their communities to help those impacted by poverty, inequality, homelessness, hunger and other challenges, according to Coffman.

“To me, it’s bottom up, hyperlocal and it’s an empowerment model where groups work in tandem with residents,” he said.

“Community really means something in community development,” added Stephen Torsell, the current board president. “It gives them a voice in solving their own problems.”

To learn more about the Ohio CDC Association visit: https://www.ohiocdc.org/

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