Skip to main content

Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

What Do Residents Think of Community Development Organizations?

Residents have considerable sympathy for the position that CBDOs have been put in—to carry out a lot of different kinds of work, all urgent, all at once, and without adequate funding. In particular, resident leaders recognize that CBDOs of and serving communities of color are often subject to the same adverse impacts of dominant narratives as residents. The risk-aversion narrative, for example, which says that communities of color are inherently risky and that community development funding should avoid risk, stifles capital flow for residents and organizations. Or the narrative of problematizing residents not systems, which says that community members lack the technical capacities to do community development work leads to hyperprofessionalization, which creates staffing challenges for CBDOs and makes it difficult for residents to engage the field directly. Or the trickle-down narrative, which suggests that changes at a larger scale are the best way to reach local communities, limits the resources made available in communities. Findings indicate that barriers and challenges experienced by residents and CBDOs in under-resourced areas due to narratives like these are often similar to each other.

The people we interviewed noted two additional challenges that prevent resident leaders from actively partnering with CBDOs on systems change and root cause work. First, they noted that community development systems and infrastructure tend to be too rigid to allow for this kind of work. In a sector with very strict monitoring, compliance, funding restrictions, timelines, and performance measures, it can be difficult for CBDOs and residents to partner on more upstream forms of change.

Read the rest at Shelterforce


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA This question is to verify that you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam.

What does the G in GEO stand for?