Community Development Resources

Thu. Jun. 20, 2024

This page is intended to offer information and other resources to everyone interested in improving their community.

What is Community Development?


Affordable Housing White Papers

  • In the Face of Gentrification: Case Studies of Local Efforts to Mitigate Displacement:Concern over gentrification has grown in communities across the country as housing rental and sales prices have soared. Balancing the revitalization of neighborhoods while reducing the risk of displacement of low-income families poses a challenge for city officials and housing practitioners. In this study, the authors present strategies used by nonprofit organizations, for-profit developers, and city agencies to ensure low- to-moderate-income residents can live in revitalizing and gentrifying neighborhoods. (Published March 2006 by Urban Institute PDF: 100 pages, 977 kbytes)
  • Preservation of Affordable Rural Housing: A Practitioners' Guide to the Section 515 Program: This is a compilation of articles describing the Section 515 housing program. The document is intended to help nonprofit organizations that have an interest in serving the needs of rural communities and the low-income people who live in them. (Published March 2005 by Local Initiatives Support Corporation, PDF: 60 pages, 425 kbytes Downloaded to Titan)
  • The Section 8 Program is funded by the HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) as a rent-subsidy program that supplements what very low-income families and individuals can afford to pay for housing in the private market through the use of housing vouchers. Housing vouchers allow very low-income families to choose and then lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable rental housing in the private market. Because housing assistance is usually provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are most often able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, town houses, and apartments. There are several types of vouchers, and they are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs) using federal funds from HUD.
  • Public Housing Reform and Voucher Success: Progress and Challenges: By the mid-1990s, some believed that in many instances, public housing failed to provide quality, affordable housing to the nation's neediest families. A major attempt to remake public housing came in 1998, when the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act was enacted. The act is the most comprehensive effort in the history of public housing to overhaul this program. By including reforms to both the public housing and tenant-based voucher programs, the act affects approximately 3.3 million families. (Published January 2005 by The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.)
  • Web Content regarding Community Development for this CRP Web Site is located on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Homes and Communities Web site.
  • Community Renewal Initiative - HUD's Initiative for Renewal Communities and Urban Empowerment Zones (RC/EZ): This series of tax incentives are worth roughly $5.6 billion, to eligible businesses of all sizes in Renewal Communities. These incentives encourage businesses to open, expand, and to hire local residents.
  • The HUD web site also offers historical information on the Community Renewal Initiative, success stories from businesses in Renewal Communities and Empowerment Zones, and information on laws and regulations that apply to these programs. There are detailed maps of these communities and links to important tax incentive publications, including IRS Publication 954 on Renewal Community and Empowerment Zone tax incentives and IRS Publication 4492 on tax incentives valued at $8.6 billion to businesses in areas devastated in 2005 by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

    This website also provides links to information on resources that different federal agencies provide to these communities through small business assistance, education assistance, health care, youth services and more. Interested parties can also contact HUD by phone at (202) 708-6339 or by e-mail at

  • HUD'S Information about homes and communities, organized by state.
  • CDCs (Community Development Corporations: There are many ways to revitalize a community, and many public and private approaches have been tried. Cherokee is just one of many private, for-profit companies that promote economic development. Another approach is the formation of CDCs that receive a variety of financial incentives to build large scale projects intended to revitalize entire communities. (This contrasts with Cherokee's approach, which is the opportunistic infill development of existing properties.)

    These community-based efforts to revitalize neighborhoods have had a significant impact on many the of America's inner cities. However, the CDCs are increasingly asked to prove their value, in quantitative, economic terms. In other words, what are we getting for our money, and can we establish metrics?

    There have been many studies in this area. We present here a summary of one such study, focused on the effect of home ownership programs, entitled Measuring the Economic Impact of Community-Based Home Ownership Programs on Neighborhood Revitalization.
  • LISC (The Local Initiative Support Corporation) has a website with detailed examples of tools and resources that practitioners have used to promote vacant property reclamation.

A community is a group that shares an environment, normally with shared interests. The word community comes from the Latin communitas, meaning the same.

Community development can be defined as a variety of activities intended to add to or enhance the community. It may include housing construction, developing cooperatives or rehabilitation of structures.

Economic development is any effort or undertaking which aids in the growth of the economy.

Community Development is more than just economic development (although economic development is included). Community development is the process or effort of building communities on a local level with emphasis on building the economy, forging and strengthening social ties, and developing the infrastructure necessary to sustain it.

Cherokee is committed to being a catalyst for community development, in the course of earning a fair profit as a result of our real estate development activities.

Community Impact

  • Renovating Board-Ups: Board-Ups negatively impact entire communities, not just the immediate owners
  • Eminent Domain: describes the meaning and legal issues regarding the government's rights to take private property for public use.
  • Preventing Abandonment, a summary of issues from Bringing Buildings Back: From Abandoned Properties to Community Assets. This 7-page report explains that the best strategy for dealing with abandoned properties is to prevent them from being abandoned in the first place, and summarizes five elements that make up an abandonment prevention strategy. Published by the National Housing Institute. (downloadable PDF document)
  • Building a Better Urban Future: New Directions for Housing Policies in Weak Market Cities. A paper intended to help CDCs, government agencies, lenders, community members, and foundations assess the effectiveness of current revitalization strategies and priorities in weak market cities; develop new tactics; and prioritize the allotment of resources to best achieve these goals. (July 2005, 32 pages, 462 KB)
  • Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer This LISC publication describes the causes of mortgage foreclosures and delinquencies, the transition from delinquency to foreclosure, strategies for mitigating foreclosures, the role of credit scores, and layering credit risk. The paper is intended to provide an understanding of how to learn from econometric studies, the basis for lending decision models to affordable housing practitioners. It concludes with a discussion of the role of pre-purchase education in managing default risk for affordable housing mortgage portfolios. (March 2002, 24 pages PDF, 153 KB)
  • Sources of Banking, Insurance & Real Estate Information on this web site are extracted from the New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance.

Commercial Development

Most constituents of a "community" need a "place to be". Residential properties provide shelter where families live and prosper. Commercial properties provide jobs, and a "place" where commerce, government and other activities can place, including office, retail, industrial, spiritual, and governmental.

Having the correct mix of commercial properties in proximity to residential properties makes a community more prosperous, and facilitates our lifestyles. From shopping to offices, hospitals to warehouses, we need "commercial" (and "industrial") properties as much as we need homes, and farmland, and parks.

As a real estate investor, Cherokee owns and operates both residential and commercial properties. In addition to earning a fair profit, we are committed to having our properties be good neighbors in their communities in every way, including esthetically and economically. We provide safe, attractive, productive properties that create jobs, and provide quality housing opportunities. Cherokee is a prudent investor. As such, we diversify our portfolio. We hold a mix of residential and commercial properties, in a variety of geographies, giving us political, economic and social diversity.

Commercial and industrial properties are important to a community because they not only strengthen the tax base, but they create local jobs, reduce the need for transportation, and serve the community with its needs.

Cherokee is an "opportunity" investor in non-performing commercial properties. We acquire properties when a find an "opportunity" to acquire it at a discount, and when we believe we can add value and restore it to safe, productive use. This supports our community development activities, and allows us the opportunity to earn a fair profit. Profits are important because this is the "raw material" that enables us to analyze and acquire still more properties, continuing the cycle of economic rebirth. A summary overview of how to Transform Your Non-Performing Assets into Goodwill and Cash is available for download.

See some examples of commercial properties that Cherokee has renovated.