Underserved Communities

With MCD Student Yyokkia Lawson
MCD Student Yyokkia Lawson

"The MCD Program gave me the words I needed to describe my experiences in community development. It also let me do a deep dive into topics which are relevant to my community and the work I am doing within my organization."

      ~(MCD) Student Yyokkia Lawson  Athens, GA


Position: I recently launched my own nonprofit, The Institute for Housing, Health & Economic Development, Inc. (IHHED). Prior to starting IHHED, I served as the Director of Credit & Financial Growth at a local land trust here in Athens. In my role with the land trust, I oversaw a department that provided home buyer and financial literacy education, one-on-one credit and housing counseling, small business education, and microloans for small businesses.
Education: I hold a B.S. in Management and an A.S. in Architectural Technology. I am also a HUD-certified Housing Counselor and a Certified USDA Loan Packager.
What made you interested in pursuing the Master in Community Development at Carsey? Upon returning home several years ago, I became increasingly concerned about the staggering poverty and substandard housing that continues to exist in the South – particularly in rural areas. The history of racial discrimination and wealth disparities has made it frequently difficult for residents in rural areas to access basic services and overcome financial barriers. Likewise, the general infrastructure problems are hard to conquer due to the scarcity of resources in rural environments. I found that rural poverty still exists in an isolated and quiet way – out of sight and out of mind.