Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No sleep ‘til Solutions

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference


Congress has left town for August recess without making much progress on appropriations or other major legislation. We expect a continuing resolution to keep program funding at current levels through the November election. At that point, election outcomes will dictate how much progress can be made on legislation.

This does not mean, however, that Washington or NHC will be inactive this month. We are working to finalize all of the details of Solutions 2014, the National Conference on State and Local Housing Policy, and have many exciting workshops scheduled that make this a can’t-miss event for the affordable housing community. Please take a look at the agenda on our website to see all that is offered.

As with last year’s event in Atlanta, we will offer four main workshop tracks, plus a track of bonus sessions and a track of roundtable discussions for experienced practitioners. Ethan writes about our Restoring Neighborhoods track below, but I wanted to note the workshops focusing on both reinvestment and gentrification strategies in Ohio, Georgia and California, and on how two cities have used HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration to revitalize their public housing stock.

Again this year, NHC is partnering with the Innovative Housing Institute on the Inclusive Communities track. Inclusive Communities will feature workshops on how Boston, Chicago and Seattle have been leaders in the active production of affordable housing in high opportunity areas, how localities have included or preserved affordable housing within walking distance of transit stations and how cities like New York and San Francisco have used upzoning to increase affordability requirements.

Our Housing Intersections track builds on last year’s research-focused offering and seeks to make practical connections among the many ways housing supports outcomes in health, education and economic opportunity. This track will feature workshops that look at how housing demands differ between baby boomers and millennials and how localities can attract, serve and retain different age groups over their lifespans; how Arizona has developed a Health Community Collaborative among the housing, community development and health sectors; and the mechanics of housing and education collaborations in San Francisco to improve outcomes for low-income children.

One area NHC specializes in is best practices in communicating about affordable housing. Our Housing Communications track again this year will focus on the most promising strategies and latest research in promotion, education and advocacy on affordability issues. This includes workshops specifically targeted to affordable housing developers (especially those with limited communication staff); the science behind effective messaging for more affordable, inclusive communities, and an opportunity to hear from journalists and communicators about the new media landscape and what it means for our work.

As a lead-in to Solutions, NHC is offering a number of webinars on a variety of topics throughout the fall. Coming up on August 12, NHC’s Amy Clark, with Janet Byrd and Matt Kinshella of Neighborhood Partnerships, will explain how science-based communications techniques can be beneficial and how you can incorporate the tools in your work. See below for more information.

We expect Solutions 2014 to be the only national event that brings together such a wide range of regional, state and local practitioners working on affordable housing issues. If you are interested in being a sponsor at this unique event, please visit the sponsor page on our website for more information.

As always, thank you for being a member of NHC!


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