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A Spotlight on Community Development Northwest Arkansas

Community Development NWA Executive Director Casey Kleinhenz highlights a results-driven strategy in developing affordable housing, emphasizing sustainable projects and community well-being in an interview with Groundwork intern Ava Gatewood.

Starting as a housing project in 1991, the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce developed into the Community Development Corporation of Northwest Arkansas Bentonville/Bella Vista, which is now a corporate nonprofit. Executive Director and Development Lead Casey Kleinhenz directs initiatives to execute the organization's objective of creating affordable housing developments and maintenance in Northwest Arkansas.

Kleinhenz joined CD NWA in 2013 after working as a self-employed property manager in Fayetteville. Kleinhenz was promoted within two years and is now involved in real estate development, utilizing his ten years of expertise in affordable housing initiatives.

One of the organization's current projects involves developing mixed-income communities. CD NWA offers family properties with rent below market rates and accepts Section 8 vouchers. Their assisted living communities prioritize seniors' independence by providing personalized assistance.

Kleinhenz notes that in light of the housing crisis in NWA, affordable housing is actively sought after and does not need to be strongly marketed. Working with a 'talk less, do more' culture, Kleinhenz emphasizes delivering projects without maintaining an ongoing narrative.

Impact measurement is a cornerstone, focusing on building sustainable projects that support ongoing operations. Despite obstacles such as collaborating with less equity in development projects, CD NWA is committed to providing real and long-lasting solutions to address the community's varied housing needs.

Written by: Ava Gatewood