'Partners in excellence' tapped

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The city's department of community and economic development gave kudos Friday to those who they say have helped them improve the quality of life for Albany's low-to-moderate income households.

The group took time during a luncheon Friday to give awards to those who DCED staff said have helped the department accomplish its goal of providing adequate housing, job creation and property rehabilitation.

"Partnerships and collaborations are vital components to the success of our efforts to make a difference in our community. We consider ourselves a resource and realize that it is impossible for us to single-handedly provide what is needed to the entire low and moderate income community," DCED Director Latoya Cutts said.

"This gives us an opportunity to show our appreciation to the agencies, contractors and businesses owners who have been gracious enough to work with us to ensure that the CDBG dollars are able to have a greater impact. It's all about demonstrating the true value of public/private partnerships."

Among those honored Friday as DCED "Partners in Excellence" were Albany Community Together, the Albany Housing Authority, Flint River Habitat For Humanity and Vantage Corporation.

According to staff members, ACT was recognized for their work assisting small business obtain the financing and help they need to open their doors. Some of their success stories include the Little Caesars restaurants in town and Cinnabon at the Albany Mall.

Flint River Habitat for Humanity routinely assists the city in rehabilitating foreclosed housing to bring it up to code and revamp the properties to increase their values and make them livable for area families, officials say.

Albany Housing Authority manages city properties and oversees eligibility requirements and housing assistance programs for low-income families.

And Vantage Corporation, a private construction firm, has built several modern residential areas just south of Oakridge Boulevard designed mostly for low-to-moderate income families.

The awards luncheon Friday caps a week long observance of the programs and efforts done by groups like the DCED to distribute Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Monday started National Community Development Week and CDED kicked off events by cutting the ribbon the newly-renovated Microbusiness Enterprise building.

Tuesday, the group helped put together baskets for area food banks and Wednesday conducted tours of various sites around the city where DCED had completed various housing initiatives.