Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Getting to yes: April Solutions convening to tackle the perennial problem of NIMBY

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

One of the most important decisions we made for 2015 was to turn our annual Solutions conference into a series of shorter, topic-specific convenings to be held in different locations throughout the year.  Our first Solutions convening of 2015 will be Solutions for Housing Communications: Building Acceptance for Affordable Housing. It will be held at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Wash., April 7-8.

We all know that despite the improvements in design, maintenance and operations, gaining community acceptance for affordable housing remains a difficult challenge. We are sometimes heartened by polls that show increased concern about the lack of housing affordability as well as support for solutions to homelessness, but when it comes building, neighbors often balk at the prospect of affordable housing being developed nearby– an attitude better known as NIMBYism.

The goal of this convening is to bring together over 200 affordable housing developers, advocates, funders and government officials for panels, workshops and roundtable discussions on challenges and opportunities in overcoming NIMBYism and building community acceptance. I think both for-profit and nonprofit developers should find this especially useful, as will local government officials who are trying to increase the supply of affordable housing in their communities. No matter where you work or what you do in housing, the lessons we’ll learn at Solutions for Housing Communications will be useful in education and advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal government levels.

Registration is only $100 for NHC members and $150 for non-members. We are able to keep the cost so low due to the generosity of our presenting sponsor, JPMorgan Chase, and our premier sponsor, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. We also have tremendous support from our local partners at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County. For more information on the event, registration and hotel reservations, visit our website.

Thanks again to everyone who attended or watched the archived version of our Annual Budget Forum. We were very pleased to have over 200 participate in the webinar and over 400 watch the archived version. In case you missed it, you can still find it on our website.

While the President’s budget had many positive elements for housing, the work now begins in Congress with the establishment of the funding caps for discretionary spending programs. Ethan discussed this in our Budget Forum and it is one key element of the budget process that can be easy for folks outside of Washington to miss.

While the focus and headlines are on the stalemate and narrowly averted shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, now is the time for the affordable housing community to be pressing our case for the value and the impact of our programs with our congressional delegations. NHC has worked hard as a member of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding on this issue. Rebekah has more information below on how you can add your organization’s name to a letter developed by CHCDF that will be sent to every member of Congress.

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