Friday, May 28, 2010

NHC and the Center Host Israeli Housing Delegation

How do you translate affordable housing in America to leaders of a nation with few housing-related nonprofits and a population smaller than New York City?

This was the eye-opening challenge on Wednesday for the staff of NHC and the Center for Housing Policy, who were honored to host a visit from Israel’s Ministry of Construction and Housing (MOCH). Mordechai Mordechai, director general of MOCH, came to our K St. office with Sofia Eldor, director of Urban Planning, and Amir Heller, Mr. Mordechai’s assistant, to hear about our research and advocacy on affordable housing and how it might apply to their urban initiatives.

Staff at the Center explained how the mortgage interest tax deduction, the Federal government’s priciest incentive to encourage homeownership, actually provides the most benefit to some of our wealthiest citizens. Ryan Sherriff, policy associate at the Center, described how to implement shared equity homeownership programs, an innovative approach to making homes affordable. And the Center detailed employer-assisted housing, popular, private sector projects to revitalize communities, where companies like Harley Davidson help workers purchase housing close to work.

Though the delegation were the ones asking most of the questions on Wednesday, their rewarding visit provided NHC and the Center a short but distant escape from the DC bubble, expanding our perspective on housing challenges in other parts of the world.

NHC and the Center would like to thank John Bohm, head of legislative programs and media at NAHRO, for helping make the delegation’s visit possible.

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