interview with Andrea Barela

There’s nothing retro about the mission of community development, according to NEWSED Community Development Corporation.  Development Director Andrea Barela visited “First Take with Lando and Chavis” to describe their work, salute a few heroes, and mention this weekend’s “Luminarias” celebration on Santa Fe Drive in Denver.

“Back when CDCs (community development corporations) were started (in the Kennedy Administration), they were built to be economic bases in poor communities, with direct links to the federal government,” Barela explains.  In its 41st year, NEWSED is an independent non-profit organization, but with real economic development in their sights.

“We did a lot of retail development in the Santa Fe Drive commercial corridor, street-scaping, and four shopping centers,” said Barela.   “Back then, it was about eliminating blight.   Today, we focus on affordable housing communities, as well as first-time homebuyer and foreclosure counseling.  It’s very important that … people have that (nestegg) in their families.” 

Recently honored at the NEWSED Civil Rights Awards (as reported by Latin Life Denver) were: saxophonist Freddy Rodriguez, Sr., educator and radio host Yolanda Ortega, community advocate and activist Rudy Gonzales, State Representative Angela Williams, Denver City Councilwoman Deborah Ortega, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and realtor and community leader Juanita Chacon.

NEWSED is sponsoring “Luminarias de Santa Fe Drive” this Friday, Dec. 12, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. between 6th and 11th.

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