Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reflections on Housings Role in the 2011 State of the Union

President Obama delivered the 221st State of the Union amid a house divided and a recovering economy. It is not surprising that the President focused his speech around the economy and fiscal policy. However, the SOTU left much to be desired in terms of direct references to unemployment and housing. Fiscal policy is important but the question of unemployment is more urgent and personal.

Jeremy Rosen, Policy Director, for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty summed Obama’s remarks on housing, or lack thereof, best with:

“. . . (Housing was mentioned) but only as part of an argument for government consolidation, premised on a belief that too many federal agencies focus on housing. Would that this were true. Where was any mention of the foreclosures that continue to plague American communities, with the related simple pledge to release $1 billion in federal funds to help temporarily unemployed or sick homeowners pay their mortgages and avoid losing their homes? This is money that Congress already gave to the Administration that will expire at the end of September with the federal fiscal year. Not to mention, there wasn’t any promise of finding additional funds.”

However, NHC along with our partners at Reconnecting America, do applaud President Obama for his remarks in regard to his support for high-speed rail, improved infrastructure, and, in particular, development around rail stations. Transit oriented development (TOD) has always been a priority of the National Housing Conference. We strive to preserve and expand the availability of housing that is permanently affordable to low- and moderate- income families near public transit, jobs and retail centers. Creating affordable housing for all in America is not just about four walls and a roof. It is about much more than that. It is about the quality of life and the utility of resources (public transit, education, job centers, retail) around that home.

Reducing unemployment is critical, but just as critical is the need to better connect the essential workers in communities (teachers, nurses, police officers) with safe, decent and affordable housing near their place of employment.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Save the Date: NHC Annual Budget Forum

Each year, NHC hosts its Annual Budget Forum, which provides an extensive first look at the federal housing budget. The forum brings together public and private-sector housing leaders to examine housing concerns within the context of the overall federal budget.

This year's event promises to examine housing-related requests in the President's FY 2012 Budget Proposal, highlight important affordable housing research and discuss ways advocates can ensure that affordable housing remains a priority in the FY2012 budget process.

February 25, 2011
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room G-50
Washington, DC

Additional speakers and event registration details will be announced on January 6. For more information, please contact NHC Policy Associate Clare Duncan at (202) 466-2121 Ext. 228 or at

Image: via,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NHC and Center Newest Addition: Tre Jerdon

NHC and the Center welcome our newest member to our team, Tre Jerdon as Policy Program Manager. Tre comes to us from the American Planning Association and brings a wealth of knowledge and background in planning, coalition building and program development and coordination. Tre will spearhead all of NHC and Center’s policy-focused conferences, forums, workshops and meetings, including the Learning Conference on September 26-28 in Washington, DC.

Tre holds a Master of Regional Planning (MRP) from the State University of New York, University at Albany (SUNY). Tre is also an avid philanthropist. In her free time she can be found volunteering at community-based organizations that target issues that are close to her heart.

She was very active as a family and adult literacy instructor with the Washington Literacy Council and other partner organizations in the National Capital Region. Most recently, Tre has been busy planning for her upcoming wedding in May!

If you would like to contact Tre directly she can be reached at or 202-466-2121 x250.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Fostering Economic Growth

The Center for Housing Policy released two publications yesterday summarizing findings from recent research on the ways in which affordable housing creates jobs and spurs local economic development. As many states continue to struggle against a bleak economic and fiscal picture, these publications provide insight into the different ways in which the construction, rehabilitation, and operation of affordable housing contribute to job creation and increased tax revenue for localities.

The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development: Evidence in Brief and its companion A Review of the Literature, highlight several ways affordable housing development fuels economic growth. Among other impacts, building or significantly rehabilitating affordable housing can:
Create jobs. Investing in the development of affordable housing creates a significant number of construction-related jobs, and new residents support additional jobs in other sectors going forward.
Attract both employers and employees. Surveys and supporting research show that both employers and workers understand the importance of affordable housing in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
Increase consumer spending. Building affordable housing increases the buying power of both those involved in its construction and those who occupy it afterward.
Increase government revenues. The taxes and fees associated with the development of affordable housing – both during the construction and after the homes are occupied – can represent significant revenue for state and local governments.
Lower the risk of foreclosure. Affordable homeownership programs appear to produce a more sustainable path to homeownership, eliminating a number of significant foreclosure-related costs that municipalities would otherwise have to absorb.
With communities across the country struggling with high levels of unemployment and lower than expected tax receipts, it is important to understand, document, and communicate the fiscal and economic benefits of affordable housing. The research reviewed in these new publications confirms that investing in affordable housing can simultaneously help meet critical housing needs, stimulate local economies, and begin to address fiscal shortfalls.

The four-page Evidence in Brief and the more in-depth A Review of the Literature are available through the Center for Housing Policy publications page.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NHC and the Center Have Moved!

New Year. New Opportunities. New Look.

Lynn Ross, Jeff Lubell and Maureen Friar look forward to seeing you on the 31st!
2011 promises to be an exciting and memorable year for NHC and the Center for Housing Policy. On January 1, we officially moved into our new office space located at 1900 M Street, NW, Washington, DC. We invite you all to join us to toast to the new year at our Open House on January 31st. For more information or to RSVP, please click here.

This year the National Housing Conference will be celebrating our 80th year as an organization. We plan for it to be a celebration of our past and a building towards our future. There are many events planned including a Budget Forum on February 25, Learning Conference from September 26-28 in DC, Gala in June and many more soon to be announced.

Despite this challenging climate, we are determined this year to move affordable housing to a first-tier issue on the national agenda to ensure that safe, decent and affordable housing is available for all in America.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Transit Trend of 2011: Light Rail Takes Off

The ability to make homes affordable to all in America is only one piece of the puzzle NHC and the Center are striving to solve this upcoming year. Another major piece of the complex puzzle is a thriving transportation system for the community’s workforce. This has been an issue NHC and the Center care deeply about and was the theme of our 2010 National Symposium, Including Affordable and Workforce Housing within Transit-Oriented Development. Cities across the nation have started to step up to fill in this missing piece with light rail as the solution.

NPR highlights Denver’s ambitious 12-year multi-billion dollar light rail transportation project that city planners and politicians hope will reshape the economic landscape of the city.

Denver is only one project of many that has jumped aboard the light rail phenomenon that has swept the nation in the past year. The economic downturn has called for new and more innovative ways to guide development. Light rail not only has the potential to increase development but also increase benefits to the local workforce, and has been relatively well-accepted with the car-culture folks.

There is now, more than ever, due to global economic competition, a “need for cities to become magnets for talent, become true world-class cities,” according to NPR reporter JJ Sutherland.

Does the key to obtaining such magnetic force lay in light rail? Only 2011 will tell.