The community development corporation is a wide ranging term that is often employed by different types of non-profit associations. In general, this type of corporation will be an organized effort to address an existing problem within a given community. The corporation is modeled after the standard business model, and will attempt to provide services and support that related directly to a current need or problem within a limited geographical area.
A community development corporation can be created for any number of reasons. One common application is using real estate within the community to develop affordable housing for lower income families and individuals. The corporation may work with civic leaders, businesses, and other non-profit organizations to acquire and renovate unused buildings into workable housing units. For example, office buildings that are almost empty may be renovated into one and two bedroom apartments that can qualify for government assistance programs and provide simple but standardized housing for low income families.
Community development corporations may also be concerned with the economic development of a neighborhood, small town, or a city. When this is the case, the corporation will focus on one or more economic programs that will help to stimulate interest in bringing in more industry or commerce into the area. The economic program may be focused on training the homeless in basic job skills, providing financing for new small businesses, or even setting up a facility that can function as an incubator for small businesses until the company in question begins to realize a steady profit.
A community development corporation may also focus on job retraining efforts when the main industry in town cuts back or pulls out altogether. A good illustration of this effort can be found in many of the small towns that saw textile and steel plants close during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many municipalities worked with interested parties to form a local community development corporation to help displaced unskilled and semiskilled blue collar workers to develop skills that allowed them to find work in other fields.