Improving the capacity of CDCs and CHDOs to build a sustainable community development and affordable housing production system is central to our work.

Over the course of several months, the Rural and Native American Program team have collaborated with the Enterprise Gulf Coast team to build the capacity of six nonprofit affordable housing organizations in rural Louisiana and Mississippi to increase the preservation of rental housing and production of new resilient housing while introducing them to the MiCASiTa model from our Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge winners, Come Dream. Come Build (CBCB).

The MiCASiTA model is a new affordable option for working families to own a home that “grows” as their income, credit or family evolves.

Rural minorities are continuously more likely to live in substandard and cost-burdened housing and are more likely to be poor. Cost burden will only be exacerbated as subsidized homes are lost. This cohort and the collaboration between these organizations continue to showcase how we are prioritizing our mission and strategic plan pillars.

This unique housing model provides homeowners with design choices and a path to multi-generational wealth building. The goal of this collaboration was to introduce a model that will work in places other than Brownsville, Texas, that would be more culturally relevant to their community.

Beyond the Rio Grande Valley of Brownsville, the team has also consulted with tribal and other rural communities. The goal is to scale MiCASiTA to persistent areas of poverty where access to homeownership faces the greatest barriers, which speaks to the communities that cohort members serve in the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Delta.

After months of technical assistance and trainings, we led a road trip through Louisiana and Mississippi with CDCB, to visit project sites and held workshop discussions with cohort members on how to culturally introduce this model to their communities and better understand how this model could be scaled and adopted in collaboration.

The week of workshopping and tours through communities provided an opportunity for cohort members to meet the MiCASiTA and Enterprise teams and one another in person for in-depth discussions and to share their community development strategies, affordable home design and resiliency work in their communities.

The tour began in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with cohort member Project Build a Future. From there we continued to Amite, Louisiana, with cohort members Tangi Community Development and Bogalusa Rebirth and then to Greenwood, Mississippi, with regional

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partners Delta Design Build and Hope Enterprise. The trip culminated in Tunica, Mississippi with cohort members Tunica Co. Community Development Coalition, BDT Housing Services, and Helping One Another, Inc.

“We thank Enterprise for assisting with organizational sustainability through this cohort and other technical assistance,” says Charla Black, Executive Director, Project Build a Future.  The cohort expressed enthusiasm about the MiCASiTA concept and Enterprise will continue working with them to scale the innovative housing model into the Gulf Coast as we enter Phase II.