Published DateLACONIA — First District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, accompanied by officials of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA), visited Lakes Region Community College yesterday to mark the beginning of National Community Development Week.
Speaking in the Bennett Library the Rochester Democrat lauded those engaged in the myriad of projects undertaken beneath the umbrella of community development — from providing affordable housing, restoring historic landmarks to fostering cultural resources — as "unsung heroes," who contribute "small solutions to big problems."
Noting that "funding is always in peril," she warned that the impact of the sequester, or across the board cuts in federal spending, will be felt. "My job," she began — then spotting New Hampshire State Senate Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) among her listeners, remarked "and I see a state senator here" — is to make sure you have the funding to do the great work you do."
Ben Frost of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, stressed the importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs, both funded by the federal government. The first has fallen 33-percent since 2001, while second, which annually provides more than $30-million of investment in some 200 affordable housing units and supports nearly 450 jobs in the construction industry. Since 2001, funding for the CDBG program has fallen by a third while funding for the HOME program has been nearly halved since 2010.
An introduction to the nursing program, operated in partnership with LRGHealthcare, was the highlight of Shea-Porter's visit. Wendy Wilson, who directs the program, explained that although currently housed in a few rooms of the academic building, the program will move to expanded space on the lower floor of the new building currently under construction. The equipment, featuring automated manikins simulation the changing symptoms and conditions of live patients, is funded by a community development block grant awarded by the CDFA.
The two-year nursing program offers an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing, preparing graduates to become licensed registered nurses. Repeating a phrase that has been a staple of her campaign rhetoric, Shea-Porter encouraged the students to make the most of "the opportunity to have an opportunity" by pursing their education and training.