Events set for National Community Development Week

ALBANY, Ga. -- City officials have started events aimed at showing the public how important community and economic development programs are for rural, impoverished communities.

To commemorate National Community Development Week, the city's Department of Community and Economic Development has undertaken a number of different events to help educate the public on the services they provide and the need for those services, DCED Director Latoya Cutts said.

"If you look at the poverty rate here, it's not hard to see that there are a significant number of people who need help making it from paycheck to paycheck," Cutts said. "In many ways, that's when our agency steps forward and works to improve the quality of life so that they can get a foothold and boost themselves out of their situation."

This week, the department is working to showcase its efforts to fight poverty and improve the quality of life for those in Albany by showcasing the Community Development Block Grant program.

The CDBG program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is spent on a variety of different projects.

This week the DCED kicked off events by cutting the ribbon on the newly-renovated Microbusiness Enterprise Center on Monday.

Tuesday, the group handed out baskets of non-perishable food items to several area shelters for families in need.

Today, DCED staff will take local officials around town on a driving tour of rehabilitation projects that have been completed using CDBG funds.

On Thursday, the DCED staff will begin "Project Revitalize" in which they'll take to the streets to pick up trash at three city-owned properties.

Friday will cap events with a luncheon at the civic center. During the luncheon, DCED officials will give rewards to community leaders, businesses and community leaders who have made "outstanding contributions" to the city through the CDBG program.

According to Cutts, the program has helped 3,987 people and created or helped retain 758 jobs over the last five years.