The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal grant administered by HUD, concerned with providing all residents equitable access to fair and affordable housing, education, jobs, public transportation, as well as assessing segregation and concentration of poverty. Walla Walla’s CDBG funds are to be spent on programs addressing these issues. Before such funds can be spent, a better understanding of the disparity of access to opportunity in Walla Walla must first be documented. My work has been analyzing and synthesizing data (Census data and American Community Survey data) contextualized in local knowledge. I write and prepare sections of the HUD Tool, an annual report that compiles the data-driven analysis necessary to assess disparity of opportunity in Walla Walla. In addition to the HUD tool, I’ve also created a presentation summarizing the findings to present to the community. Since CDBG is concerned with fair and affordable housing, another piece of my work has been digitizing a survey that documents participant’s experiences with housing discrimination.
Working as an intern for the City has been a wonderful experience thus far. If I have any questions about my work, my supervisor, Jennifer Beckmeyer, whose workspace is adjacent to mine, is able and willing to help. I love hearing about all the goings about at the City, from concessions sales during the opening weekend of the Veteran’s Memorial Pool to an Adam West fan club pushing for a declaration of Adam West Day. It’s fascinating to pick up new bits of information about Walla Walla—for example, Walla Walla is a micropolitan, a small metropolitan area. When receiving funding, Walla Walla is classified as an urban area due to its population density, and is included in the same funding pool with cities such as Spokane and Seattle.
Experiences like Devon’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff