02/17/04 — Rebuilding Broken Places gives report

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Rebuilding Broken Places gives report

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 17, 2004 2:02 PM

A faith-based community development organization has brought in over $5 million to the local economy in the past few years and is continuing to expand its programs.

That's what Goldsboro council members learned Monday about Rebuilding Broken Places Community Development Corp. A 20-minute program on the organization's accomplishments and plans were presented by its board members and staff and by the Rev. Dr. William Barber II.

Almost 30 members of the Greenleaf Christian Church also braved the cold weather to come out in support of the programs.

Barber, Executive Director Archie Black and Vice Chairman C. Earl Davis explained to the council that a community development corporation was engaged in planning, entrepreneurial or management activities affecting a community, and economic development.

Rebuilding Broken Places originally started with a target area within one and a half miles of Greenleaf Christian Church, in the northern part of the city, but plans to expand as needs arise.

Through a special program, called Project Faithforce, the organization seeks to address specific problems in the community, which include poverty, affordable housing, education, and entrepreneurial development.

Its affordable housing program targets first-time homebuyers or those with low-incomes, offering them homebuyer education with a course developed by the state's community college system.

The organization has been involved in building a number of housing developments, including 16 single-family houses in Faith Estates and a 41-unit apartment complex at Greenleaf Grace Village for low-income senior citizens.

Four years ago it joined with Project Homestead and the city on the Harris Street Estates.

Its major role in that project was community liaison, marketing, mortgage assistance and selling homes.

In addition to those developments, the church raised $1 million to transform a deteriorating structure into the Faith Community Center.

The center offers a variety of programs including pre-school child care, summer day camps and after-school programs.

The pre-school serves children from six weeks to 5 years old and focuses on "attitude, academics and the arts." The after-school program is provided through a collaboration with Goldsboro Middle School and offers tutoring for the students.

In addition, the center offers computer training and technical assistance seminars for starting a new business or expanding an existing one.

Barber told the council that the organization had brought $5.1 million into the Goldsboro and Wayne County economy through collaborations, grants, partnerships and sponsors.

The organization was recognized in 2000 by the N.C. Association of Community Development Corporations as having the most innovative real estate project, and it also received the Kwanzaa "Principle of Faith" award that year.

Recently it was chosen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as an organization worthy of having its story submitted to the White House.

"As you can see our goal is to build a community," Barber said, "and our partners are the community."

Mayor Al King and the council thanked Barber, the organization and the congregation of Greenleaf Christian Church for all the hard work.

"I commend you for your work," said City Councilman Charles Williams. "You're one of the few that doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk."

City Councilman William Goodman said that the older part of the city was dwindling away and was in serious and desperate need of development.

"I thank you for what you've done," Goodman said.

Councilman Jimmy Bryan represents that area of the city and said that he appreciated all the hard work done by the organization and offered his help and support.

"If there's anything I can do to help, let me know," Bryan said. "It's very important to develop."

City Manager Richard Slozak said the city had been able to accomplish a lot through its partnership with Rebuilding Broken Places.

"Reverend Barber is dynamic, and he doesn't leave any stone unturned," Slozak said. "I don't stay up at night, but I do wonder where he's going next."