Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New year, big goals

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

Happy New Year to all of our members across the country!  After a little time off to recover from a very busy year we are all excited to be back for what will be an even busier 2015.

On a more somber note, we are sad to mark the death of David Reznick.  Whether you knew David personally or not, chances are you knew about some of his work with the Reznick Group and later CohnReznick. He was at the center of the creation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and a major force on affordable housing issues thereafter. I enjoyed getting to know David over the past couple of years and really appreciate his long history of support of NHC over the previous decades, and of the new goals we are working to achieve. He was especially supportive of our work on veterans issues, particularly the Veterans Rental Housing Working Group, meetings of which he sometimes even attended personally. He was a true giant in the affordable housing movement and had a significant impact on how our country provides homes for working families and vulnerable people. Our thoughts at NHC go out to his family, and to his colleagues at CohnReznick. For more on David and his life see Radiah’s write-up below.

As we look ahead in 2015, NHC has many exciting events coming up in the next few months to tell you about. In March we will hold our Annual Budget Forum via webinar so people across the country can participate. This will be an important way for you to learn where congressional budget discussions are headed on housing issues and what you can do to help policymakers understand the impact of funding for housing programs in your community.

This event will also include the release of the Center for Housing Policy’s Housing Landscape 2015. Housing Landscape summarizes the affordable housing challenges of low- and moderate-income working households in every state in the country. For the first time, Housing Landscape will include reporting on affordability challenges by race and ethnicity.

In April we will hold our first Solutions 2015 convening, Solutions for Housing Communications, in Seattle, Wash. This day and a half-long event will focus on the root causes of community opposition to affordable housing development and the communications solutions that can help the housing community build support and achieve our goals. This event will be especially valuable for those who develop affordable housing, but will be relevant for everyone who talks to public officials or community members about affordable housing. Look out for more details on this convening in the coming weeks.

In addition to all of this, we will continue our work on housing policy issues like tax reform, housing finance reform and funding for housing programs We will also launch new initiatives on implementation of the new fair housing rule and bringing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to community development. See below from Ethan and Lisa for more details on our policy and research plans for 2015.

We look forward to working with you on these efforts and are grateful for the opportunity to be a resource and ally in your work in the coming year.

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