COSCDA
Loading
COSCDA History & Governance
The Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA) was created in December 1974 (as the Council of State Community Affairs Agencies (COSCAA) by Directors of State Departments of Community Affairs to establish a forum for discussion of and action on national issues of common interest. As a nonprofit organization, COSCDA is supported by membership dues.

Through the 1980s, the most prominent change among COSCDA members was the merger of community affairs and economic development responsibilities. In an effort to ensure that the organization' s name more accurately reflected the roles and responsibilities of its members, in June 1989, the COSCDA membership voted to change the name of the organization from the Council of State Community Affairs Agencies to the Council of State Community Development Agencies. The name change took effect in the fall of 1990.

Throughout its history, the primary purpose of COSCDA has remained promoting the common interests and goals of the states, with major emphasis on community development, housing, homelessness, local economic development, and state‑local relations. The organization undertakes this purpose through advocacy, professional development and member services. COSCDA provides a fourm for state agencies to "tell their story" of the important contributions states make in communities throughout this nation.

Advocacy

COSCDA represents its members by serving as an advocate and liaison between Congress, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and related federal agencies on a host of programmatic and regulatory issues. COSCDA provides leadership in the development of funding, legislative and regulatory strategies relative to community development, housing and homelessness as well as on implementation and programmatic issues.

COSCDA arranges and supports testimony by members before Congressional committees and meetings with administration officials. COSCDA staff regularly meets with and engages Congressional representatives, their staffs and agency policy leaders to obtain information for members and ensure that members' views are considered by federal decision makers. COSCDA staff frequently works with congressional staff in the drafting of legislation and with federal agency representatives prior to the initiation of federal agency rule making. COSCDA staff often helps facilitate resolution of issues that arise between a specific member and a federal agency.

Board of Directors

COSCDA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of four officers (President, Vice‑President, Secretary, and Treasurer), along with the immediate Past President, plus at-large members and the representatives elected from each of COSCDA' s four regions. The COSCDA Bylaws lay out the basic operating principles of the organization.

The Board meets four times a year: at the Annual Training Conference in September; in December; in conjunction with the Program Managers Training Conferences in March of each year in and the first week in June. The Board also meets via telephone conference call the first Wednesday of each month. Each year, the COSCDA Board participates on organized teams and meet with key Congressional committee staff and seniro leadership at the US Departnent of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Membership at Large

COSCDA members are the executive branch agencies that have primary responsibility for providing community development, housing and homelessness, or local economic development assistance to local communities. There is one voting member per state. In states where more than one agency has responsibility for these activities, the state determines which agency will be the official COSCDA member.

The head of the member agency is generically referred to as the Department of Community Development (DCD) Director. The DCD Director is the official voting member and liaison between a member agency and COSCDA and determines who among the agency participates in COSCDA's standing committees. All official correspondence (e.g., dues notices, letters inquiring about interest in being nominated to COSCDA's Board) and nearly all COSCDA publications are sent to the DCD Director. The head of an agency can delegate in writing his or her official voting and liaison role to another person within the agency. The vote is cast by the "DCD Director" or by someone who has written authorization from the DCD Director to vote on behalf of the member agency.

Staff

The COSCDA staff consists of an Executive Director, one professional and one administrative staff person. The Executive Director has primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the organization. The professional staff are responsible for policy and advocacy matters in their respective program areas of community development, housing and homelessness as well as involvement in training and technical assistance. The administrative staff person has responsibility for membership and conferences, as well as day-to-day administrative issues. COSCDA utilizes the services of a Fiscal and Finance Manager on a contractal basis.

Conferences and Training

Annual Training Conference

The COSCDA Annual Training Conference is held annually in September. The site of the Conference rotates among the four COSCDA regions. Members interested in hosting the Conference provide an information packet that is distributed before the Annual Conference to all members. The site of the Annual Training Conference is typically selected two years in advance.

Program Managers Training Conference

The COSCDA Community Development, Housing and Homelessness Program Managers Training Conferences are held annually in March in Washington, D.C. The three Conferences are designed to benefit state ageancy administrative staff working in the respective program areas. The three Conferences are offered concurrently to facilitate the provision of joint workshops on topics of common interest.

COSCDA Training Academy

The COSCDA Training Academy was created in 2007 to meet the increasing demand from the membership to provide state-specific training in COSCDA' s three core program areas: community development, housing, and homelessness.

Committees

Standing Committees

COSCDA has five standing committees, the Community Development, Housing, Homelessness, Member Services Committees and the Training and Professional Development Committee. The Community Development Committee deals with policy issues impacting community and economic development programs, the Housing Committee deals with policy issues impacting HOME and other housing programs and the Homelessness Committee deals with policy issues related to Federal homelessness programs. All of the standing committees also provide input regarding training and technical assistance needs within the respective program areas.

The President, in consultation with the Board, appoints the Chair of each Committee, who is a Board member. Two Co-Chairpersons are also appointed by the President, in consultation with the Board, from among the COSCDA membership. Participation on the Committees is open to all COSCDA members.

Member Services Committee

The Member Services Committee focuses on the service relationship between COSCDA and its members. The Member Services Committee concerns itself with the interface between COSCDA - its Board, committees, staff and the general membership. The President, in consultation with the Board, will appoint the Chairman of the Committee, who will be a Board member. Each DCD Director has the opportunity to name one person as a voting member of this Committee. The Committee also will submit a work program to the Board for review and approval. The Member Services Committee assists COSCDA staff, the standing committees and the Board in determining how COSCDA can best serve and most benefit its members. Participation on the Member Services Committee is open to all COSCDA members. The Member Service Committee meets annually at the COSCDA Annual Training Conferenec. Training and Professional Development Committee

In 2009, COSCDA formally created the Training and Professional Development Committee. The Committee Chair is a member of the COSCDA Board of Directors along with Committee Co-Chairs, non-board membesr from the COSCDA membership designated to share Committee leadership responsibilities. For most functions, the Committee Chair and Co-Chair serve as a team and share leadership responsibilities for the Committee. Other members are designated by the COSCDA Board; overall membership will be recruited to assure representation from the various program areas and regions, but will include the COSCDA President, Treasurer, Immediate Past President and the Chair and/or Co-Chair of the Member Services Committee. The Training and Professional Development Committee is an ongoing standing committee. The Training and Professional Development Committee meets annually at the COSCDA Annual Training Conference. Committee Meetings Each of the three Program Committees meets at least twice annually: at the Program Managers Meetings in March and at the Annual Conference. The committees may also meet by conference call, as needed. Each committee develops a work plan that prioritizes issues and work activities.

Information Dissemination

COSCDA regularly disseminates the following information to its members:

National Line is COSCDA' s primary newsletter and is produced monthly. National Line contains short, timely updates of congressional and administrative activities. It is distributed electronically and available to members through the COSCDA website.

COSCDA  Member Update was added in early 2005 as a direct result of the proposal to eliminate CDBG. It was determined that the urgent need for information on legislative and other developments related to this proposal necessitated more frequent, regular communication with the membership. This publication is transmitted electronically to COSCDA members and has focused primarily on efforts related to preservation and funding of the CDBG program and a variety of housing and homelessness issues.

COSCDA Annual Report outlines COSCDA' s vision and purpose and details many of the activities undertaken throughout the report period in the areas of community development, affordable housing, and homelessness.

The COSCDA website (www.coscda.org) contains information on congressional and administrative activities, archived copies of National Line and Member Update (available only to members) as well as other COSCDA publications. The website also contains information on innovative state agency projects, programs and policies.

COSCDA maintains listservs on community development, housing, homelessness and IDIS. The listservs provide members the opportunity to exchange information on key program issues and topics.

COSCDA also produces analyses of proposed federal policy and budget initiatives and seeks member feedback on these initiatives.

Public Relations/Press Releases: COSCDA issues press releases capturing the voice of our members on important issues or aspects of their work. These are coupled with media interviews at times. News conferences are also a standard fixture in our tool box.

Surveys are an important mechanism in all aspects of COSCDA' s work as a membership organization. Surveys are vital to fine tuning policy and advocacy, training, and most recently, to provide substance to public relations efforts that help define our work as an industry.

COSCDA maintains listserves on community development, housing, homelessness and IDIS. The listservs provide members the opportunity to exchange information on key program issues and topics.

COSCDA also produces analyses of proposed federal policy and budget initiatives and seeks member feedback on these initiatives.

Facebook and Twitter have been used to help disseminate important information and will continue to be used as appropriate going forward.