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OCDCA releases 2017 annual report

Group photo after the Friday morning Member Awards Breakfast at the 2017 OCDCA Annual Conference in Toledo, October 5-6.

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.

OCDCA has just released its 2017 Annual Report.

Special thanks to our members, partners, sponsors, and funders for supporting us through 2017.

You can read the annual report on our website. While there, you can subscribe to receive our newsletters to learn about these things first and consider a donation to strengthen the work of the OCDCA network.

We look forward to continuing our work with all partners, funders, and members. We had a great year and are looking forward to an even better 2018!




Approaching partnerships between health care institutions and community development organizations

Amanda Abrams for Shelterforce:

The shift has been unmistakable: health care organizations are increasingly focusing on upstream factors that affect their patients’ health. To some degree, that shift is the result of state and federal legislation, particularly the Affordable Care Act, which regulates nonprofit hospitals’ preventive care activities. But it’s also just common sense. Addressing patients’ big-picture realities—that is, the social determinants of health like housing, job creation, and food security—can have deep impacts on their day-to-day health and the interventions that are needed.

That new mindset has been a boon to many community development organizations, whose target populations—low-income groups—often tend to be frequent hospital users. The result has been a wide range of collaborations between community development groups and health care institutions that have sprung up around the country. In many cases, the partners have jointly determined that the community’s health problems could be mitigated through the provision of safe, healthy, affordable housing, often making housing development and rehab a front-and-center priority.

It’s a win-win situation: health care institutions save money as patients’ chronic conditions and repeat visits are reduced, while community development groups locate new sources of funding that can further their missions.

Read more in Shelterforce (and subscribe while you’re there!). You’ll hear about OCDCA members LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation.


Empowering Communities RFP now open

Ohio boasts a strong reputation for innovation combined with heart. The diverse nature of the state includes eight urban centers, sprawling Appalachian counties, countless suburban towns, and rural communities. As a result, Ohio serves as an economic, cultural, and political microcosm of the United States. That translates into being a hotbed of activity for test markets and pilots of all kinds.

Social issues and solutions are the key to economic growth and community stability. We are eager to leverage more than 200 outstanding Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) community development organizations to accelerate and implement next-generation social innovation.

Empowering Communities Grant Challenge

Ohio CDC Association and the CareSource Foundation are tackling this head-on by launching the Empowering Communities Grant Challenge.

The Empowering Communities Grant Challenge opportunity will provide funding for innovative solutions to unique community challenges that involve the social determinants of health. The process consists of three stages:

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) process
  • Concept Presentation including Q&A
  • Implementation Phase

Requesting organizations must be a nonprofit member in good standing of Ohio CDC Association, and applications are due by 4 PM EST on May 4, 2018.


First round of signatures filed to put payday lending reform initiative on November statewide ballot

“We are certain voters will support this if legislators don’t act on reform”

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman explain the necessity for payday lending reform.

Leaders of an initiative to put payday lending reform on the November statewide ballot this morning turned in over 2,000 petition signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. Backers are pursuing this direction because state lawmakers have not acted on reform.

The petition language calls for a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates in Ohio at 28%.

Nate Coffman, of Ohio CDC Association in Columbus, and Pastor Carl Ruby, of Springfield, are filing the petitions. At least 1,000 of the Ohio voter signatures must be validated and the Attorney General’s Office must determine that the summary of the proposed constitutional referendum is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law.

The Attorney General must then certify the petition to the Secretary of State. At that point, Coffman, Ruby and other supporters can start collecting the 305,591 valid registered voter signatures that must be filed by July 4 in order to get the issue on the November ballot.

“These petitions, these signatures are proof that we mean business,’’ said Coffman. “It’s been nearly 12 months since a bi-partisan reform bill, House Bill 123, was introduced and the legislation has stalled ever since. It seems like they don’t care that every day this bill doesn’t move forward, it costs Ohioans an average of $200,000 in excessive borrowing costs, or about $75 million annually. That’s not acceptable. And that’s why we are pushing for a ballot issue.’’

Payday lenders charge an average 591% annual percentage rate in Ohio, the highest such rate in the nation. Pastor Ruby said that rate is ridiculous, and he is tired of seeing lenders gouge vulnerable, lower income working Ohioans.

It’s time for the voters of Ohio to have their say, because apparently many in the legislature are not willing or eager to advance

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman submitting over 2,000 signatures to the Attorney General’s Office.

HB 123,’’ said Ruby. “With a few notable exceptions, they seem more interested in placating the special interest groups who are profiting from these loans, than in protecting the working class borrowers who are sinking deeper and deeper into debt.’’

The ballot initiative mirrors some of the reforms called for in the bi-partisan HB 123, which seeks to establish a maximum interest rate on such loans of 28% plus a maximum monthly fee of $20.

Coffman pointed out that in 2008, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of payday lending reforms. “Since then, payday lenders have by-passed the will of the people and state law and are charging even higher prices,’’ he said. “That’s unacceptable, and we are certain Ohio voters will agree if legislators themselves don’t move quickly on reform.’’

Members of Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a diverse statewide coalition of more than 100 individuals and organizations that support passage of HB 123, will be asked to support the ballot initiative.

Nick DiNardo, of Cincinnati, and Michal Marcus, of Cleveland, are joining Ruby and Coffman in the push for a November ballot vote. 


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!



Call for nominations! HUD’s fourth annual Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes

HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, in partnership with the National Environmental Health Association, offers this call for nominations for excellence in four categories:

1. Public Housing/Multifamily Housing;

2. Policy and Education Innovation;

3. Cross-Program Coordination,

4. Research.

Nominations accepted online until Feb. 28.

More information about submission requirements.


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.


NEO: Payday lending reform needs your help – January 17th at 10 am

Payday loans in Ohio have the highest APR (591%) in the nation! House Bill 123 would reform those loans, with interest rates at 28% plus a monthly fee of no more than $20. There is a major hearing on this bill tomorrow, Jan. 17, in Columbus. The campaign needs to fill the bus with people who support payday loan reform.

The bus will leave at 10 a.m. Wed., Jan. 17, from the parking lot of Rockside Corners Shopping Center, 6901 Rockside Rd, Independence, OH 44131. This is just east of I-77 and pretty easy to get to. There’s plenty of parking available.

Those on the bus will get lunch at the statehouse prior to the hearing and will meet with Rep. Kyle Koehler of Springfield, one of the co-sponsors of the bi-partisan bill. They will have some T-shirts for supporters, who will attend the hearing. They also may be asked to stand next to or behind any of our supporters who testify if they are being interviewed by media before or after the hearing. The bus will leave Columbus at about 4pm.

Please help to fill the bus by urging staff or residents that are concerned about this important issue.

Any questions can be directed to Betsy O’Connell at or 216.702.4331. She would like to know who is coming on the bus, so she can give that information to Danielle Sydnor, a supporter and official with the Cleveland NAACP who will be on the bus and will be briefing attendees.


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.


Working to end homelessness in Lima

Via Your Hometown Lima Stations:

“Work is continuing to address the homeless problem here in Lima Allen County.

The Lima Rotary Club is teaming up with the West Ohio Community Action Partnership to bring awareness, education, and hopefully a solution to the homelessness situation in our community. The Rotary Club has started a fundraising campaign to provide the help needed for the chronically homeless that want a way out. It’s essential to connect individuals with the resources available to them on a 24/7 basis.

CEO of West Ohio CAP, Jackie Fox says there will be a phone number that can be called that will connect to a live person that will help find the services needed, including a warm bed for the night.”

Watch the full news story, including the interview with Jackie Fox, here.