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Sams Memorial ® Community Economic Development, Inc.

Sams Memorial ® Community Economic Development, Inc. (also known as 'SMCED') is headquartered out of the City of Darien, Georgia. The following is a brief description of what we are about. Sams Memorial is a non-profit organization established in 1992 for the purpose of reaching out to rural communities (i.e. poverished) and struggling youth with common problems such as alcohol and drug addictions. This philosophy of outreach is based on the principles of commitment and dedication which underlie all phenomena and form the framework of each community. Sams Memorial CED made some repairs on a near-by local building which now functions as the Sams Memorial Community Center.

The McIntosh County Government has fully supported the SMCED's efforts. With the county's backing, and the leadership skills of Mr. Griffin Lotson, the Community Center has expanded its programs and received various state, federal, and foundation financial support. SMCED's current annual program and operating budget is approximately $85,000 at this present time, and will increase in the future as we grow.

In working with the Community's low-income families, the SMCED Board and staff became even more aware of the need to improve the Local Housing Conditions. A first step was to lease six (6) vacant houses owned by Rural Development. SMCED has required the houses rents them to very low-income families.

In 1996, SMCED applied to Rural Development for a technical assistance grant to start a Self-Help Housing Program where very low-income families would contribute their manual labor to help construct houses for themselves. In 1997, Rural Development approved a $10,000 planning grant which SMCED is using to find and qualify families for Rural Development's subsidized home ownership loan program. After SMCED has found six (6) or eight (8) qualified families, it will initiate the construction phase of its Self-Help Program supported with another Rural Development grant to cover administrative costs.

In late 1996, SMCED used foundation grant funds and the support of the Sams Memorial Church to purchase a tract of land that will yield eight (8) or nine (9) lots for Self-Help Houses. Beginning in early 1997, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) provided technical assistance and pass-through funds to help SMCED complete some preliminary planning for the subdivision. HAC has also approved an $18,600 loan to help SMCED develop the subdivision. McIntosh County has agreed to do much of the development work.

In the spring of 1997 several Community Leaders and Human Services Administrators in Long County asked Mr. Griffin Lotson to initiate a program to help Long County meet its housing needs. With the HAC's assistance, SMCED indentified a site, verified local government support, and packaged this application.

SMCED's Board and staff do not have extensive experience in housing development. However, the Board and staff have demonstrated Community Leadership, initiative, and management skills in administrating the After-School Programs and getting Rural Development's preliminary approval for a Self-Help Housing Program. Although, no funding source has ever questioned any of SMCED's expensures of funds, at SMCED's request, HAC has provided pass-through funds to pay for an accounting firm to provide assistance to improve SMCED's financial management system. The accounting firm is available to provide additional assistance as the amount of funds SMCED manages increases.

With HAC's ongoing assistance and additional technical assistance if needed from housing consultant and/or a joint venture partner, SMCED can successfully help develop and own the proposed Rental Housing Project in Long County, Georgia. SMCED would find and contract with the developer's fee from the project to retain the services of a professional housing consultant or staff person to help it develop future projects. Sams Memorial Community Economic Development, Incorporated would also work on increasing its capacity to become the property management agent.

The project would be a catalyst for Sams Memorial Community Economic Development, Incorporated, giving it resources to strengthen its own staff, initiate other Housing Projects, and expand its Community Supportive Services Program.

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