A joint effort of Richland County, the City of Columbia and Lexington County to address homelessness recently received national recognition.
The regional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and government partnership to fund and support the homeless facility Transitions was honored with the Audrey J. Nelson Award. Representatives from Richland, Lexington and Columbia traveled to Washington, D.C., in January to attend the National Community Development Association (NCDA) meeting where the award was presented.
Valeria Jackson, Director of Community Development at Richland County, said the award is an “excellent example of a partnership” among government entities to address a common problem.
More than 1,600 people in the Midlands were thought to be homeless at the time Transitions opened its doors in June 2011. The agency provides emergency to long-term housing, job skills, primary health care and substance abuse counseling. Richland County CDBG contributed $350,000 from 2011 to 2013 to Transitions. The total combined CDBG funding from Richland and Lexington counties and funding from Columbia totaled $1.4 million.
The Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award was established in 1987 to recognize exemplary uses of CDBG funds which address the needs of families, homes and neighborhoods. It is named in honor of the first Deputy Executive Secretary of NCDA who was known for her commitment to her neighborhood and her efforts to serve low-income communities.