From HAPEC’s Community Development Corner:
It’s a little hard to believe that fall is here. In reflecting on what just happened since the snow melted the thought in Community Development that “it takes a village” jumped to mind. The majority of work as HAPEC’s Community Development Director is overseeing our home “rehab” programs. This and the rest of my work takes getting out and meeting with other community leaders, participating in important discussions, and then trying to determine what and how to get other important projects off the ground to meet community needs. Home rehabilitation is also village rehabilitation. Rehab is a piece of the pie for overall community development needs, but also directly ties into why our organization came into existence. It was because of low income household housing, and repair needs.
Starting early last spring our Community Development activities ramped up with the pleasure of contributing to the following fronts:
· Participating in Jay Revitalization Task Force meetings to hear from local leaders on what their needs and wants are, examining the strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.
· Attending the Adirondack Non-Profit Network (ANN) annual meeting and retreat to find more and better ways to collaborate, spread our resources further to make a greater community impact, keep up with salient facts, figures and events, and learn tips and tricks of management and hear more about the realm of fundraising. Little known fact – HAPEC is one of the few non-profit organizations in the Adirondacks that is fully grant funded
· Working with Lake Placid Community Development Commission’s Housing Committee to determine review the merits of conducting a Housing Needs Assessment, and determining how to get it off the ground because almost everything is good in balance, but sometimes we all need to check-in with the data to see if we’re in or out of balance.
· Diving deeper, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and donned our glasses to look toward Regional Housing needs for the 2023 Winter University Games and beyond with a strong focus on how to also address current housing needs, and encourage the market to provide more long term, affordable, quality rentals.
· MAC’s in Port Henry closed down, so we participated in one of the first conversation which was led by ADK Action and hosted by the Moriah Chamber of Commerce. We discussed what to do for the short and how to begin planning for the long term, best interests of the community.
· Rounding it out to bring it back to home rehab – We met with Adirondack Community Action Program’s (ACAP) Executive Director, and their new Weatherization and Energy Services Director to rekindle our relationship with their organization on disseminating weatherization assistance in order to maximize our home rehab impact.
· Last but not least, just this week I attended Essex County Code Enforcement Training hosted by the Essex County Community Resource Department. Topics centered around how to avoid Spot Zoning, knowing when zoning variances requests are supportable, revitalization, and adaptive reuse. Much was review, but it’s always good to revisit old topics to keep the ideas alive for when they can come to good use. It was great to see such a full room, hear from the New York State Planning Federation and be reminded that they are only an email or call away.
Leaving you with one of my favorite photos of the summer – attending the Otis Festival – from a Planner’s perspective it was a great, well-orchestrated peaceful event. It was an oasis in the Adirondacks where great planning happened. It incorporated diversity, wayfinding, collaboration, sustainability, health, safety, transportation, great food, community, and the “missing middle” (20-30 year olds) could be found for a short, 2 day period, deep within the Adirondacks. It was an opportunity to reflect, think outside of the box, and appreciate “doer’s” efforts to build community.