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OCCD 2021 Fall Meeting

September 27, 2021

The Fall Annual Meeting is now visible on the horizon, and while we at OCCD miss the camaraderie and networking we do when we meet in person, we believe we need to continue our conferences online to keep everyone safe.  The plan at this time is to return to in-person conferences starting in April of 2022.  We hope, as you all do, that things will be better and we can stick to that plan.  As always, we will keep you posted.

I’d like to thank my predecessor, Brian Iorio, then vice-president, now our president, for setting such a great example in putting together sessions that help us carry out our mission of community development.  I hope to continue in his footsteps in coordinating presentations that are timely, helpful, and even inspiring. 

Our Fall Annual Meeting will follow the same format as our previous online conferences, two half-days of sessions followed by ODOD and HUD Field Office breakouts. 

We start the meeting on October 27 with the Successful Implementation session discussing Healthy Food Access. Ethan Harris of Clark County will share their local success story of bringing back a grocery in a low-income area of Springfield and coordinated efforts between Clark County, the City of Springfield and the Tecumseh Landbank. Following Ethan, Omar Elhagmusa from IFF will provide us with some ideas on how to obtain supportive funding for a grocery store in an underserved area.

Following that, the second session of the morning will feature Jenny Carter-Cornell, Steve Gross, and Craig Kasper, all from Hull & Associates as well as Aaron Clapper from Greater Ohio Policy Center.  Since there is funding in the state budget for Brownfields and Demolition, I thought asking them to talk about how to best utilize those funds gives us a head start in developing projects. 

Wednesday’s third session will be a discussion of what disability advocates need us to know during this time. With COVID, remote work and other workplace changes may require us to be creative in accommodations. This session will be a panel discussion led by Mara Layne of Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio. 

We will finish the day with the OCCD Business Meeting.   

Thursday, October 28 will begin with a session addressing one of the problems caused by the pandemic – Housing Stability, with two related threads.  Our first speaker will be Tom Walker, from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, sharing their new Mortgage Pilot Program.  The next speaker will be Robert “Bo” Chilton from IMPACT CAA and Holly Swisher from Allita 360.  IMPACT provides assistance to those facing eviction, and Bo will talk about this programming and the consequences of the Eviction Moratorium.  Holly provides Technical Support to IMPACT’s program. 

The next session, the Importance of Planning, might be a reminder to some, or new to others. I’m not sure that I have ever seen the range of programs (and the amount of funding allocated to them) in my twenty-two years working in Community Development. In order to obtain funding and successfully implement these programs, we need to plan on how to best use them to support our communities. We will have a discussion featuring Christine Davis of APA Ohio, Grant Johnson from ODOD and Eric Zamft, Director of Planning and Development from Cleveland Heights. Christine will give us the profession planner’s perspective. Grant will be sharing Ohio Department of Development’s requirements for communities to do thorough planning before applying for many of the CDBG grants, and he will discuss several ways to fund planning projects. Eric will share his vast experience with community planning.

The final presentation on Wednesday is the always valuable and timely State Legislative Update from Tony Core of Squire Patton Boggs. Ending the day will be the virtual breakout sessions with ODOD and the HUD Columbus Field Office

I look forward to lots of audience questions and lively discussions at our Fall Conference. While you are waiting for October 27 and 28 to get here, please visit our website at and consider donating to the Foundation’s Gold Star Campaign.

Until we meet in October, stay safe,

Terri Fetherolf, OCCD Vice President

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