Friday, July 11, 2014

Sanford Wins Support For Community Integration Initiative

The City of Sanford is one of only two North Carolina cities to win a Building Integrated Communities (BIC) in-kind grant from UNC Chapel Hill to lead a city-wide effort to create comprehensive integration plans for foreign-born residents.

The grant will provide the department in-kind support over the next two years with needs assessment, planning and facilitating community workshops, surveying successful efforts in other communities and more.
The support will be provided by the staff of the Latino Migration Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We are tremendously excited about this opportunity,” says Marshall Downey, director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Sanford and Lee County. “We hope to partner with various local agencies and identify strategies to assist our local Hispanic population in ways to better plug in to local government, businesses, and our community as a whole.”

“The Hispanic population has become a significant part of our community over the past 15 years,” notes Rev. Bob Bridwell, deacon at St. Stephen Catholic Church and volunteer coordinator for the program. “This grant gives us a unique opportunity to help these families and individuals contribute and prosper,” he says.

“Being one of only two finalists out of ten NC municipalities for this project speaks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and citizens to help integrate, support, and promote our Latino population,” says Mayor Chet Mann. “As a City on the upswing, strengthening connections for any group benefits us all as a community,” he points out.

To apply the grant, the planning department will hold a series of public meetings over the next two years. The community as a whole will be able to participate and help guide the process.

BIC is a statewide initiative that helps North Carolina’s local governments successfully engage with immigrants and refugee populations in order to improve public safety, promote economic development, enhance communication, and improve relationships.

Ten municipalities in North Carolina expressed interest in the BIC grant. Sanford and Winston-Salem were the only two selected.

Learn more about the BIC grant program on UNC's website.

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