Fighting Poverty with Passion
As several of my fellow VISTAs have recently noted, it can sometimes be difficult in the course of only a year to see the projects you work on come to fruition. It’s surprising how fast your VISTA year will go–our July cohort will soon be celebrating 8 months with AmeriCorps! Pre-Service Orienation simultaneously seems like a lifetime ago and only yesterday.
Although BDC’s affordable rental project started well before I came on board in July, my term has coincided with the start and end of construction. As such, it’s the most tangible of my organization’s accomplishments that I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of. I helped work on the groundbreaking event for the project back in early September and I am currently planning the ribbon cutting that will celebrate the project’s completion.
When I started my term 8 months ago, the structures that are now BDC’s affordable rental units were blighted homes that were detracting from the recent infrastructure investments in the neighborhood including the nearby Wilson Charter School and BDC’s newly constructed homes for sale. Today, these formerly blighted homes have been beautifully renovated and will increase the stock of affordable housing in the city, something that is sorely needed.
As I mentioned in my first post 7 months ago, the nonprofit housing industry is facing tough times. Funding is drying up and many community development corporations are experiencing mission creep as they struggle to stay relevant (and keep their doors open) amidst a shifting landscape. With these challenges in mind, my organization is aware that we need to take a step back and celebrate our accomplishments when we can. Furthermore, as a VISTA, when your term is relatively short and much of your indirect service un-quantifiable, the opportunity to experience the start and end of something successful is particularly satisfying.