History & Governance

Who We Are

As the Executive Director of Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA), I take great pride in welcoming you to our official website. As you know, COSCDA supports the common interest and goals of states, with major emphasis on community development, affordable housing, local economic development and state-local relations.

COSCDA advocates for the interests of states with federal policy makers. We analyze proposed legislation and budget initiatives, help states share information about best practices and produce a variety of newsletters. In addition we also offer COSCDA members technical assistance on a variety of community development and housing related issues. My desire is to provide our members and visitors with the latest information on these important issues. Additionally, we strive to take advantage of the latest technology to make constant improvements in the look and navigation of our site – resulting in greater utilization by our members. I trust that your visit will be informative.

Dianne Taylor

Dianne Taylor
Executive Director

Our Mission

COSCDA Vision 

COSCDA represents the leadership role of the states as the premier voice of authority to Congress, federal and state agencies in advocating and promoting community development and affordable housing, eliminating homelessness and in providing technical assistance and increasing collaboration among state partners.

The mission of COSCDA is to:

  • Advocate for the common community development goals of the states; 
  • Develop policies and recommendations on community development issues; 
  • Keep members informed on federal and state legislative and administrative developments that affect them; 
  • Enhance the capacity of states to deal effectively and comprehensively with community development issues; 
  • Ensure the availability of community development expertise to members; 
  • Encourage and assist states in the development and implementation of effective community development programs; and
  • Facilitate the exchange of information about programs and achievements among states


Member Services Committee

Training and Professional Development Subcommittee

Technology Subcommittee

Awards Review Subcommittee

Nominations & Elections Committee

Community Development Committee

Disaster Recovery Committee

Homelessness Committee

Housing Committee


Director of Advocacy and Federal Programs

Operations and Office Manager

Conference Training Coordinator


Who We Are

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, disaster recovery and state-local relations. The organization undertakes this purpose through advocacy, professional development and member services. COSCDA provides a forum for state agencies to “tell their story” of the important contributions states make in communities throughout this nation.

Advocacy – A Voice for the States

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; disaster recovery as well as 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.

Organization Chart

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Director, Advocacy and Federal Programs

Operations and Office Manager

Conference Training Coordinator


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 Board is COSCDA’s policy-making body, except when policy is made by vote of the members.  Policy decisions must fit within COSCDA’s bylaws, our vision and mission statement along with the organizational strategic plan. 

The Board meets in person four times a year: at the Annual Training Conference in September; in December; in conjunction with the Program Managers Training Conferences in March 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 meets with key Congressional committee staff and senior leadership at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Membership at Large

COSCDA members are primarily 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 the official voting member and liaison between the member agency and COSCDA and determines who among the agency participates in COSCDA. The head of the 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 “Agency Director” or by someone who has written authorization from the Agency Director to vote on behalf of the member agency.

Functions of the Membership at Large

The membership at large has five major responsibilities:

  • The membership elects the officers and members of the Board of Directors
  • The membership selects the host location of the Annual Training Conference.
  • The membership votes on changes in dues.
  • The membership votes on amendments to the Bylaws.
  • The membership votes on major policy positions through participation on Committees and Subcommittees.


The COSCDA staff consists of an Executive Director, one professional, and one operations and office manager. The Executive Director has primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the organization. The advocacy and federal programs director is responsible for policy and advocacy matters in their respective program areas of community development, housing, homelessness, and disaster recovery as well as involvement in training and technical assistance. The operations and office manager has responsibility for membership and conferences, as well as day-to-day administrative issues. COSCDA utilizes the services of a Conference Training Coordinator and Comptroller on a contractual 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, Homelessness, and Disaster Recovery Program Managers Training Conferences are held annually in March in Washington, D.C. The “four” Conferences are designed to benefit state agency administrative staff working in COSCDA’s primary program areas. The “four” Conferences under one umbrella 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 four core program areas: community development, housing, disaster recovery, and homelessness.

  • CDBG Boot Camp:  4-day training for state CDBG staff about the basic strategies for CDBG administration;
  • CDBG Sub-Grantee Training:  3-day training for entities that administer CDBG programs for non-entitlement city/county recipients.  An additional day can be added for elected officials;
  • Advanced CDBG: 2-day training for state CDBG staff that desire an in-depth look at the requirements and flexibilities of CDBG administration;

Compliance Training: 3 one-day trainings covering:  Environmental Review, Labor Standards, Acquisition/Relocation, and Grants Management


Standing Committees

COSCDA has five standing committees: 

Community DevelopmentHousingHomelessnessMember Services and Nominations and Elections, along with several subcommittees support the work of the committees.  These subcommittees include Disaster Recovery under the Community Development Committee and Training and Professional Development, Awards Review and Technology under the Member Services 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 programmatic 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. The 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 and encouraged for 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 Conference. 

In 2009, COSCDA formally created the Training and Professional Development Subcommittee. The subcommittee Chair is a member of the COSCDA Board of Directors.  The subcommittee Co-Chairs are non-board members from the COSCDA membership designated to share subcommittee leadership responsibilities. The subcommittee Chair and Co-Chairs serve as a team and share leadership responsibilities for the subcommittee. Other members are designated by the COSCDA Board; overall membership will be recruited to assure representation from the various program areas and regions.

Each of the Program Committees (including Disaster Recovery subcommittee) meets at least twice annually: at the Program Managers Meetings in March and at the Annual Conference. The committees also meet by conference call, as needed. Each committee develops a work plan that prioritizes issues and work activities.

COSCDA Communications

COSCDA Member Update was added in early 2005 as a direct result of the administration’s 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 and disaster recovery issues.

The COSCDA website (www.coscda.org) contains information on congressional and administrative activities, along with 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 relevant media as available. 

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

Twitter has been used to help communicate important information and will continue to be used as appropriate going forward.