Friday, August 13, 2010

NHC and NAR Bring Workers Home in Southwest

NHC and the National Association of Realtors® came to Austin, Texas on August 12th, to host their third Bring Workers Home forum. Having weathered the economic downturn better than most and seeing continued growth, Austin has a real need for workforce housing. And attendance at the forum reflected this fact with the highest number of participants of any of the three forums, and attendees from the South Central region and as far away as Virginia and Chicago.

Covering workforce housing efforts in Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas and elsewhere throughout the southwest, the forum highlighted that states and cities are still struggling with how to provide workers with housing options near where they work. City of Austin planning officials spoke of their comprehensive planning efforts and how good data can help the planning process to assist with building inclusive neighborhoods. Employer-assisted programs are one part of the solution and several great examples were featured. All of the solutions require effective partnering, access to funds, political advocacy and leverage.

Robin Snyderman from NHC member the Metropolitan Planning Council moderated the afternoon sessions and highlighted the importance of the Livable Communities Act to continued efforts to create and preserve workforce housing in Texas and the greater region. And Francie Ferguson of NHC member NeighborWorks brought the message back home to Austin with her description of local advocacy efforts to manage the jobs-housing balance.

Image: Janet Byrum, Advance Food Company

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