Looking to make a difference? If you have an interest in real estate or community redevelopment, an upcoming training program can help.
The class attracts people from varying backgrounds, from affordable housing developers to policy makers, community development staff and board members and students in business, urban studies, and architecture.
“We’d love to have non-traditional individuals that may have a passion for community development, but don’t really know how to get started,” says Angela Crist, director of the Florida Institute of Government at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Members of the class, expected to include up to 25, put together recommended projects based on real-world problems, with the goal of actually implementing them. That might be a plan to utilize open space left by a former neighborhood grocery. Or an artist-themed community or even a townhouse project as in-fill in a developed area.
“It is a grassroots program. They have to work on a viable project,” Crist says.
The Community Real Estate Development program, known as CRED, is a certification program held annually to help people gain a better understanding about community real estate development, the financial aspects of property development and real estate development management.
“Our ultimate goal is that we are changing people’s behavior,” explains Crist. “At the end, they are looking at it [community real estate development] through a different lens, so they can go out and improve their community.
The class, which costs $150, meets on Friday afternoons and Saturdays from March 2 through April 14. It is being held from noon to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays at Tampa Housing Authority, 5301 Cypress St., Tampa.
The deadline to register is February 16. Apply online here.
The program presents diverse segments of the commercial redevelopment field, utilizing USF professors and community talent to teach and mentor. “Every class they have is like a lunch and learn or various speakers," Crist says.
CRED is sponsored by the Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County, the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County, Tampa Housing Authority, and Sun Trust Foundation.
Participants can earn a certificate from USF. The class can be used for continuing education units for professionals or academic credit for college students though an independent study course at USF.
Certification maintenance credits are required for a number of professionals including planners, and development and planning education staff.
College students find the program to be very hands-on, Crist adds, helping them to understand the process from “soup to nuts.”
Class members also benefit from the course’s networking potential because it draws together developers, lenders, and government officials/staffers in a non-threatening environment.
Although the class has been held in North and South Florida, it is only available in Tampa Bay this year because of scheduling and capacity issues, Crist says.