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CDC Impact: Food Access

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

In this final week looking at our five community development “buckets,” we discuss food access. A little over two-thirds of OCDCA members offer food access programs.

According to a 2015-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report, 16.9 percent of Ohio households have struggled with food insecurity, which is well above the national average of 5.6, and sixth worst in the nation. Additionally, this same report indicates that 7.5 percent of Ohioans have struggled with very low food security, which is the third worst in the nation. Likewise, the Ohio State University Food Innovation Center found that 17.3 percent of Ohio’s population is food insecure.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Connected over 131,000 Ohioans to CDC food programs, including farmer’s markets, healthy food initiatives, and community gardening;
  • Invested more than $2,600,000 in food access programs to ensure low-income communities gain access to fresh and healthy foods;
  • Supported nearly 325 community gardens and 60 farmer’s markets.

Ohio CDC Association members accomplish these things using many strategies. One long-standing strategy is in Appalachia.

Southeast Ohio faces many challenges with getting fresh, healthy food to its residents. Despite the relative abundance of farmland, acquiring fresh fruit and vegetables is difficult because of the region’s remoteness from urban centers where most produce is sent. Distribution is not guaranteed to be profitable because of lower populations, so how does one attract a distribution network to the area?

In the early 2000s, an auction market formed in Southeast Ohio to allow the local Mennonite community a convenient outlet to sell their produce production. The auction format has little overhead compared to a more typical market, and the spectacle of the event involves more of the surrounding communities. An OCDCA member now operates this food hub which simultaneously combats food access issues in southeast Ohio and strengthens the community ties.

From produce auctions to corner stores and vacant lots converted to gardens, Ohio CDCs are tackling food insecurity head-on. We are so proud and grateful for all of their tireless work!

 

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CDC Impact: Financial Empowerment

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

This week, we take a look at financial empowerment. Approximately 50% of Ohio CDC Association members offer a financial empowerment program. Through financial empowerment initiatives, CDCs provide education and asset building tools so low and moderate income families can become financially independent, improve credit, reduce debt and foreclosure risk, and contribute to community stability.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Invested nearly $6,500,000 in financial empowerment programs to leverage $65,000,000  in assets for low-income Ohioans;
  • Conducted financial empowerment programs which improved the financial well-being of 1 out of every 2 participants;
  • Improved the financial well-being of nearly 35,000 Ohioans.

The many organizations that perform this work do so in a myriad ways.

One way is through the OCDCA Assets Ohio Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Operated by OCDCA since 1999, IDAs are matched savings accounts for low-to-moderate income individuals to save for a first time home purchase, small business venture, or post-secondary education. The participant savers contribute earned income and receive up to an 8:1 match for their desired asset. While saving, they undergo financial education and asset specific education.

One central Ohio OCDCA member helped Deb in 2016. Deb has two sons and six grandchildren. She is a long-time dedicated Goodwill employee and was approved for a Habitat for Humanity home in 2015. After about six months in the IDA program, Deb saved enough money to reach her goal, and was ready for a down payment in March 2016.

Stories like Deb’s are sprinkled throughout the state thanks in part to the work of Ohio CDCs. Because of the work and programs of CDCs, many individuals and families are finding empowerment and economic prosperity that continues to be a challenge for many Americans.

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CDC Impact: Community Engagement

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

This week’s theme is community engagement – a deeply critical component to all community development work. The central idea to the CDC industry is that local communities know their people and places the best and are best suited to enact change to their specific challenges.

Through local engagement, residents can take ownership of their community and are empowered to make lasting changes through grass roots efforts.  

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Hosted community events that were attended by over 159,000 people;
  • Recruited almost 37,000 volunteers of which nearly 6,500 were youth;
  • Organized volunteers that performed more than 559,000 hours of service in their communities.

For example, one CDC in northeast Ohio holds an annual day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and in 2016, countless volunteers helped board up 20 vacant homes in single degree temperatures.

Another community development group in southeast Ohio mobilized many residents to help bring a grocery store to their rural food desert.

Community engagement is inherent in community development work, as CDCs make a place at the proverbial table for all the voices in their community.

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CDC Impact: Community Economic Development

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

This week we focus on community economic development – something nearly all OCDCA members do. Community economic development

  • Creates jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities;
  • Builds individual and community wealth and;
  • Attracts capital to disinvested communities.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Invested nearly $35,000,000 to develop the economy in their communities, re-connecting community residents to workforce opportunities, creating jobs, and fostering entrepreneurship;
  • Helped over 42,000 households with job training and small business development, resulting in 1,000 new or expanded local businesses, which created nearly 2,500 jobs in low-income communities;
  • Re-purposed or rehabilitated over 1,000 vacant properties.

There are countless ways in which these activities occur around the state.

For example, in 2016, one CDC in Appalachia loaned approximately $130,000 to new and existing small businesses, which resulted in over 118 new or retained jobs.Local small businesses that sought expansion assistance saw an average 15% increase in sales as a result of this assistance.

Another CDC in Columbus finished and sold a 55,000 square foot warehouse to a local makers space, which now serves a community hub for the neighborhood and the city.

Community economic development is at the center of the work of Ohio’s CDCs. Through the work of the 245+ CDCs across the state, Ohio is fostering an environment that comprehensively improves life opportunities for all Ohioans.

 

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CDC Impact: Affordable Housing

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Invested over $350 million in their communities and served more than 39,000 households through their affordable housing development, housing counseling, and home repair programs;
  • Developed or rehabilitated over 2,300 affordable housing units for low and moderate income families, senior citizens and veterans and;
  • Repaired or improved nearly 20,000 homes.

There are so many various ways in which this happens across the state.

For example, in 2016, a CDC near Cleveland coordinated 356 volunteers for 46 volunteer projects, hosted 23 housing educational workshops with 782 attendees, and engaged 526 people in some type of service provision including overseeing a bed bug issue intake program, home visits, or housing court advocacy.

Another CDC in Cincinnati provided 486 families energy education to learn how to reduce their usage and save money on their utility bills.

Affordable housing is a critical need in Ohio as well as the rest of the country. The work of Ohio CDCs is truly important in meeting this need.

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CDC Impact: One Million Served

The Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) is a statewide membership organization that fosters vibrant neighborhoods and improves the quality of life in all communities through advocacy and capacity building of our member agencies.

The majority of our member agencies are community development corporations (CDCs), which are nonprofit organizations that work to bolster their communities through targeted programs and services in affordable housing, community economic development, community engagement, financial empowerment, and food access.

The membership is over 250 strong, and each of Ohio’s 88 counties has at least one member organization serving it.

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

But what does that really look like? Join us over the next five weeks as we explore CDC impact in Ohio. Each Wednesday, we will share facts, images, and the stories of work happening all across the state in critical areas of community development. We are so happy to share these stories, and we hope you’ll join us on this journey.

Together, we can create a community development environment that comprehensively improves life opportunities for all Ohioans.