The National Dialogue: October 10

On October 10, 2013, NFG hosted the most recent installment in the National Dialogue series. Speakers and participants discussed community benefit agreements (CBA's) as a tool used towards building vibrant neighborhoods and cities. Speakers from Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles, discussed the key components of CBA campaign wins and the crucial implementation and enforcement work ahead to ensure lasting citywide and regional infrastructure that cultivates economies of opportunity for local residents. These CBA campaigns engaged local residents, elected officials, affordable housing organizations, and labor organizations alike, building community power across social movements. Wins include the creation of new affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, creation and access to good jobs, and the kind of transit-oriented development that ensures access to these benefits, as well as the new developments, for residents. 

Many webinar participants had questions that we were unable to address due to time limitations. To continue the conversation, we have launched this online conversation, and some of the webinar questions are listed below (click Read More to view). We asked our speakers to kick of the discussion by addressing these questions in the discussion area of this page, below. Please add your thoughts and additional questions as well! 

Below you can also find links to the webinar slideshow and additional resources from Partnership for Working Families.

October 10 National Dialogue Webinar Slideshow (PDF)

The Construction Careers Handbook

Community Benefits: Practical Tools for Proactive Development

Community Benefits: Leveraging Partnership for Successful Development

As a reminder, here's a re-cap of the webinar agenda: 

Welcome by Carmen RojasLiving Cities and member of NFG's Working Group on Housing Justice and Community Transformation and Working Group on Place-Based Community Change. 

Samaria CrewsFRESC Denver, CO
Rebecca SaldañaPuget Sound Sage Seattle, WA
Joe DonlinSAJE Los Angeles, CA
Roxana TynanLAANE Los Angeles, CA 

Moderated by Leslie MoodyPartnership for Working Families, and Tony RomanoRight to the City Alliance 

As part of our ongoing programming, the WGHJCT hosts a regular conversation among field leaders and funders: The National Dialogue on the Disparate Impact of Foreclosures in Communities of Color. The National Dialogue began in 2010 with a focus on the foreclosure crisis, and has since expanded the conversation to the future of housing policy in the US. We hope you'll join us for upcoming conversations in this ongoing series of conversations hosted by NFG. Join us for our next conversation! For more information on the National Dialogue and other programming, visit the Working Group on Housing Justice and Community Transformation on the NFG website. If you have any questions, please write to


  1. What impact did the recent floods in Colorado have on FRESC's target populations and policy work?
  2. What were some of your strategies for organizing community members?
  3. I was hoping you could get into some of the specifics around your work with the unions. What mechaisms were used to ensure that local workers, low-income workers, and workers of color were able to get good union jobs through this process.
  4. I had an opportunity to submit comments to the HUD proposed AFFH changes, and I suggested a change to to Fair Housing Act by including a new protected class (source and type of income)> FMR needs to allow disposable or net income to qualify rather than using the gross income qualifier. 30% of gross is not fair because peoplke on xed incomes (pensions, SSI,etc) are not subject to payroll taxes and other deductions. Therefore net or disposable income should be more important for qualifying. Any suggestions or comments?
  5. You mentioned that housing costs are rising near the transit lines? What coalitions and approaches are you using to address the rising housing costs?
  6. What are the demographics of these cities?
  7. Any plans to implement an employer-assisted housing program with regards to the FasTracks Program where more housing will be developed around centers of employment? This is a great opportunity for employers to become a partner and for the city to offer a matching EAH program.
  8. Where did the displaced minorities go? Any programs to allow a diverse community to develop downtown? Sounds like the segregated communities have just ben shifted away.
  9. Do you know of any likely strategies for engaging in any CBA arrangements after lightrail planning and construction has begun? In Houston we're trying to figure out if its entirely too late.
  10. Most examples come from large cities with many kinds of organizations already active. Do we have examples fo small cities with little foundational work or coalitions?
  11. We have run into difficulty getting our public officials on board for CBAs. We are in a severely economically depressed area in NE Ohio. It seems that there is a lot of desperation around attracting new development at any cost. Any tips for engaging public officials?
  12. Are there development projects that you tried to hault instead of negotiating a CBA? What criteria do you use around this?
  13. Have any of the presenters negotiated additional community benefits with developers that have committed to a minimal number of affordable housing units?
  14. Has anyone included "ban the box" policies for folks with criminal records in CBAs?
  15. How have you been able to get the trade unions involved, esp. in increasing membership with minorities, and disadvantaged. Most unions are concentrating on getting their members on the bench hired, rather than new apprenticeship or opening the union to minorities.
  16. Two questions: 1) Lots of funding goes to national level policy and research on these big problems but so many of the wins are happening at the local level. How do local groups get the support they need to win and implement good local policy? 2) What kind of infrastructure does it take to not only draft and pass local policy but to enforce it over the lifetime of these large projects?
  17. Lots of funders support national policy and research on these issues, but many of the most notable wins are happening at the local level. What type of support has been most beneficial to helping organizers win and implement good local policies? Can you discuss the role of policy and research vs. organizational support for leadership development and coalition-building?

Additional Comments: 

  • This is great on how to connect jobs to this conversation is very helpful in terms of making the conversation more relevant in communities in the Delta of Mississippi that ties into the education conversation.
  • Cleveland adopted band the box several years ago. we are now in the process of thinking through how to link men and women with a record to the opportunities on projects that will have a cba in cleveland. its tough though given that many crimes have proximity restrictions.