Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Looking ahead at 2014

All the policy, research and communications resources
to look for from NHC this year
by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

Welcome to 2014! In the December edition of Under One Roof I recapped NHC’s successful and busy 2013. This month I’ll touch on what 2014 has in store for NHC and our members.

Ethan writes below about NHC’s work to bring the housing community together around a set of mortgage finance principles. We are asking national and state organizations to endorse these principles in a coalition-based advocacy effort to shape Congress’s work on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This will be one of NHC’s major legislative efforts throughout 2014.

We have written several times about our Housing Communication HUB, which we believe will be a major resource for the advocacy and development communities. In February the HUB will move from “beta” status to the full version, and we will aggressively market this resource to folks so everyone can benefit from accessing and sharing best practices, research and other tools related to how we educate and advocate around affordable housing.

We expect in March to again host our annual Budget Forum at the Capitol to engage and educate Congressional staff. We are also planning a webinar version of the Budget Forum so folks across the country can participate and ask questions. The Budget Forum will also coincide with the release of Housing Landscape 2014, which Lisa Sturtevant discusses below. Other research to expect from the Center this spring include an evaluation of a Moving To Work public housing authority and a literature review of best practices and impact benefits of affordable housing options serving older adults.

Later this spring we will hold a national convening on the issue of rental housing for veterans. Last year we convened a small workgroup of practitioners to help us identify changes that could be made to improve the ability to develop multifamily housing that serves veterans. Recommendations include changes to regulations at HUD and VA, and increasing the allocation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Our goal will be to bring together a wide segment of the multifamily sector as well as supportive services organizations to inform and finalize our policy recommendations and create an organized advocacy effort in Congress and the agencies.

In June, we will again hold our Annual Gala and Policy Symposium. Last year’s symposium focused on the future of the Federal Housing Administration and the future of neighborhood stabilization and foreclosure recovery. This year we expect the Symposium to look at the significant need for more affordable rental housing, and at the impact of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule on affordable housing development. June is also the time when the Center will release research on community land trusts and inclusive land use policies.

In the early fall we hope to partner with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and other sponsors for a convening in Chicago on the housing issues of that metro region. Likely to be a one-day affair, we hope this will be the first of many regional housing convenings held in locations around the country.

Also in the fall, the Center will release Paycheck to Paycheck, our annual report on wages and housing affordability in more than 200 metro areas. The Center also plans to release some important research on best practices concerning housing and services for female veterans. In addition, we’ll publish a toolkit on the HUB on communicating about veterans’ housing with policymakers, community members, and veterans themselves.

Finally, we will end the year with Solutions 2014, our national conference on state and local housing policy, in Oakland, CA, in November, and the NHC/New York Housing Conference Luncheon in December. Solutions 2014 will again focus on rebuilding communities, inclusive community strategies and housing communications. We will also host a track on the intersection of housing with other social issues, and will weave housing-focused research into each track. We also hope to include workshops on housing for older adults and veterans as well as resident organizing efforts that have been a part of state and local funding campaigns.

All in all, 2014 promises to be a very busy and productive year! Naturally, this list does not include the myriad legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts we engage in alone or as part of larger coalitions. We expect to continue our work on housing funding, rural housing issues, and tax reform that will likely pick up after the election, as well as on many others we can’t predict yet!

Your support of NHC as a member, Leadership Circle donor or event sponsor makes all this possible. I hope all of our members will continue to see the value of supporting and participating in our many education and advocacy events throughout the year.

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