At part one of Councilmember Anita Bonds’ Community Action Summit, the focus was on Housing and Jobs in Wards 1,5,7,and 8. Although this Summit focused on Housing and Jobs, it represented so much more – a commitment to help underserved communities in the District by bringing together residents, community leaders, experts and government officials. Held in the community room of the Department of Employment Services on Minnesota Avenue NE, panel discussions and work groups were the tools used to 1) Inform people about current resources and 2) discuss challenges and what other tools need to be developed.
Connie Spinner, Executive Director and Head of School for the Community College Preparatory Academy gave a presentation on her organization, which is the first adult charter school founded East of the River. CC Prep focuses on getting adults ready to be successful in post-secondary education and advanced certificate training. There is also a major push to help these students become lifelong learners. In her presentation outline, Spinner states “As most of you probably already know that the strongest indicator of the educational success for a four year old-is the educational level of that child’s mother.” This is why programs such as CC Prep are so important, that not only contribute to current community development, but for generations to come.
Housing, the other focus of the summit, focused on the Continuum of Housing. Presenters like Bob Pohlman of CNHED and Darrin Davis of Anacostia River Realty spoke on the need to continue the preservation of affordable housing, the production of more affordable housing, and the need for financial literacy in these wards. Homeownership being one of the main vehicles for wealth generation, they spoke on the importance of financially educating individuals and preparing them for homeownership. A specific focus was on launching the East of the River Homeownership Campaign, helping residents in Wards 7 and 8 become successful homeowners in their communities before prices become too great.