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Episcopal Community Development

Jackie Ross
One year ago, Episcopal Community Development had a budget of $700,000, and a staff of 5.5.Fast forward to the Alleluia Season of 2010, and ECD has doubled its budget & tripled its staff. Not bad for a tiny non-profit that was launched with diocesan funds in 1990. In fact, ECD has enjoyed diocesan support every year since. In the last year, ECD has added 2 new programs: The Clinton Hill Community Resource Center (CHCRC) in Newark’s South Ward provides a wide variety of services to this historically underserved community including free meals to children, summer camp, job placement services, and computer training. A Foreclosure Counseling program established in February, 2009 has an 85% success rate of keeping at-risk families in their homes. Consequently, ECD is considered one of the most effective counseling agencies in the state. Known foremost for its affordable housing development, it is perhaps this department that achieved the most phenomenal results: ECD has been awarded $8 million through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program to rehabilitate abandoned foreclosed houses and recycle them back into the market affordably. ECD is on track to rehabilitate or build 400 affordable housing units in the next 4 years, which will impact its Newark and Irvington target neighborhoods more substantially than any effort since the 1960’s. Although this rapid expansion has placed ECD squarely in the ranks of the state’s most productive service providers, it has created substantial challenges. Funding support is still chiefly program-restricted, placing additional strain on an already cash-strapped operational budget. It has also compelled the growing organization to relocate its administrative offices from its home of almost 20 years, Episcopal House, to CHCRC.