Building Community Development Capacity in El Paso
Publication Year: 1998

Building Community Development Capacity in El Paso


Mueller, E. 1998 Building Community Development Capacity in El Paso. A report for the Ford Foundation. Report Four. Center for Urban Policy Research, December 1998.

This study, undertaken on the heels of the EPC’s first round of grants, focuses on the early steps of the El Paso Collaborative—it is too soon to judge the effects of its work. However, we can learn from the EPC’s early experience what role such a group can play in laying the foundation for effective community development efforts in the future, as well as the challenges it must overcome.

We find that there are several key challenges the EPC must address:

  • Too few resources are available. The EPC must expand the amount of financial and technical assistance available locally. New funders and technical  assistance providers must be found.
  • Available resources are inflexible and do not fit local needs. Cityallocated funds go primarily to project costs. Yet groups need loans to cover other expenses, such as predevelopment costs. They need training and technical assistance that will strengthen their organization by institutionalizing sound basic operating procedures. And they need assistance with specific technical tasks involved in putting projects together.
  • The CDC community is weak and has no champions at city hall. To build support, the EPC must show that CDCs can produce results in the short term and build capacity of groups for the longer term. The city and city council will be unwilling to increase funding to CDCs without evidence of increased capacity.
  • Community-based development is poorly understood. While housing needs are well understood and accepted, a broader understanding of neighborhood revitalization and the role of community-based groups in this process must be developed. Without this, support for CDCs will always be precarious.

Subject Areas

Urban Policy
Additional Topics
CDCs | community development | EPC