The Community Development Partnership (CDP), a non-profit organization creating opportunities for people to live, work, and thrive on the Lower Cape, is pleased to dedicate their recent participation in the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk to organization founder, Mary Lou Petitt.
“Mary Lou Petitt is a force of nature,” said CDP Executive Director Jay Coburn. “Her vision, tenacity and commitment to a Lower Cape community that provides opportunities to all who live here made this organization possible for the past 25 years. Mary Lou has been one of our most steadfast champions.”
Mary Lou Petitt was an early advocate of affordable housing and support for the small business community because she clearly saw that housing availability and a strong business sector were inextricably linked if the Lower Cape was to remain a vibrant, diverse community. Twenty five years ago, Mary Lou answered the call from former Senator Henri Rauschenbach to create an organization that could direct resources and attention to the specific needs of the Lower Cape community. The result of their vision and their commitment to the Lower Cape was the creation of the Community Development Partnership (formerly the Lower Cape Cod Community Development Corporation). Mary Lou steered the course as a member of the Board of Directors for 18 years and co-chaired the CDP's Housing Committee. Under her board leadership, 1,700 individuals and families directly benefited from the CDP's housing and economic development programs in the following ways:
• $4.9 million invested in housing rehabilitation loans
• $1.9 million invested in business microloans
• Partnerships and collaborative efforts resulting in the development of 60 units of affordable housing for rent or ownership
• Creation of Canal House - a sober living facility in Orleans
• Initiation of the CDP's First Time Homebuyer Education course
In addition, Mary Lou's wide ranging interests led her to serve on the Task Force that developed the Cape's 10 year Plan to Prevent Homelessness, championed the creation of the Flex Bus, chaired the Lower Cape Cod Community Coalition for many years and served on the Assembly of Delegates.
With the support of local business sponsors, as well as funds raised by a Walk Team of ten CDP supporters, the organization raised over $15,000 through the Housing with Love Walk for its Resident Support Services program. Through the program, residents receive support with budgeting, financial planning and training in how to be a tenant. They are also connected with local resources as needed, such as childcare, employment, education and health/nutrition benefits assistance. The program is helping to keep the 140 residents of the CDP’s 72 affordable rentals in their homes.