Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What does it mean to move housing forward?

42nd Annual Gala honorees show us the way. 
by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

I had a great trip last week to San Francisco, where I had the pleasure of kicking off Ballard Spahr’s Best of the West Housing Conference. I talked about a variety of important housing issues like funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, the President’s budget for housing programs and the important issues it sets up for next year, expansion potential of programs like RAD, and implications for tax reform now that Chairman Camp introduced his bill.

I also had great meetings with folks from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Enterprise Community Partners and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. I learned a lot from them about the issues that are in play in California’s housing community, and had a chance to share details with them about NHC’s Annual Gala in June and the Solutions 2014 national conference on state and local housing policy, which we’ll host in Oakland November 18-20.

As I mentioned in the Washington Wire last week, Linda Mandolini of Eden Housing and former New York Representative Rick Lazio will co-chair the June 12 Gala, Moving Housing Forward: Seizing the Moment. Please take a moment to learn more about the Gala on our website.

The Gala is in its 42nd year. My personal goal is to ensure that it continues to be a celebration of affordable housing and community development work that is truly national in scope. The past two Galas have honored organizations, like veterans housing groups in 2012, and NeighborWorks America® and Omni NY LLC in 2013, that provided uncommon leadership and vision in solving America’s most pressing housing needs.

We’ve renamed the Housing Person of the Year award to show our continued commitment to honoring the best work in housing, whether it comes from an organization or an individual. This year’s Housing Visionary Awards will go to Enterprise Community Partners for its work in rebuilding affordable housing in the Gulf Coast region following the hurricanes of 2005, and to the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) of Massachusetts, which led a broad-based campaign that achieved $1.4 billion in state bond funding for affordable housing and included innovative funding for the improvement of childcare centers.

Last year we honored former NHC President Conrad Egan with the Carl Coan, Sr. Award for Public Service to Affordable Housing in recognition of his long (and ongoing!) career in support of affordable housing. This year we will present the Coan award to Dianne Spaulding. Dianne has led the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California for the past 25 years and grown it into the largest and most successful regional housing group in the country. In addition to her regional work, she has been an important factor in successful state policy efforts, and her voice is well-respected by California’s congressional delegation.

I hope you will make plans to attend Moving Housing Forward as it promises to be an incredible opportunity to connect with and be inspired by housing leaders from across the country. You can purchase tickets to the Gala and access sponsorship information on our website.

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