Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Across the continuum and across the country

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference 

It is difficult to believe that we are already entering the final month of 2015. As you will note from reading the columns from Amy, Ethan and Lisa, NHC has undertaken a tremendous amount of work across the country and on a range of affordable housing issues this year.

We continued to make engagement at the regional, state and local levels an important part of our work, holding a Solutions convening in Seattle on Housing Communications and in New Orleans on Restoring Neighborhoods. We also held a Fair Housing Forum and Annual Housing Awards Luncheon in partnership with the New York Housing Conference in New York City. NHC staff traveled to 21 states to present our research and resources, provide policy updates and give keynote addresses. This includes states such as Washington, California and Colorado in the west to Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia in the south and Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the northeast. To reach even further, we also conducted eight national webinars on a range of policy and research issues that each drew hundreds of participants from across the country.

NHC also maintained a high profile in Washington, D.C. as part of working groups and coalitions on issues such as the federal budget, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and housing finance reform, and through making multiple presentations at conferences held by other national organizations such as the National Association of Realtors, Habitat for Humanity International, the National League of Cities and the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks. Of course, we also held our own signature event, our Annual Gala and Policy Symposium, honoring two great multi-organization collaborations from Columbus and Atlanta and sharing insights into how affordable housing can be a platform for individual and community success.

As Ethan notes in his column, NHC continued its long history of direct involvement in both legislative and regulatory efforts at the national level on issues such as funding for housing programs, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and making it easier to provide broadband access to federally subsidized rental housing.

All of that with just 12 (very talented) staff members plus several excellent interns made 2015 a very productive year.

There is much more in store for 2016. We will recognize NHC’s 85th anniversary throughout the year,  and while we will celebrate our past and all of the wonderful people who have shaped affordable housing as part of NHC’s work, we will also look to the challenges of today and the near future that will come with a new presidential administration and Congress.

In an effort to improve the way you access our resources, we’ve just kicked off the second phase of our effort to develop a more user-friendly and dynamic website that will wrap up in the early summer. We have also started planning our next Solutions for Housing Communications Convening April 28-29 in New York City, our Annual Housing Gala and Policy Symposium June 2-3 in Washington, D.C. and the biennial How Housing Matters Conference we will host in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and several other national organizations in September.

Most importantly, we hope to continue to expand our reach, our impact and our usefulness as a resource to the affordable housing community. To do this we need your support and involvement as a member. I believe NHC plays a unique role at the national, state and local levels in bringing the full spectrum of the affordable housing community together on policy efforts and on research and best practices that move the field forward.

I hope you and many others will join us as supporters and active members in our work in 2016 as we look forward to another exciting year ahead.

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