Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Building from the ground up

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

While today’s Super Tuesday contests send presidential primary news into overdrive, I’m sure most everyone in the affordable housing community has been disappointed in the lack of discussion of housing. This is the fault of both the media and the campaigns themselves, of which only the Clinton campaign has produced a policy paper that addresses housing. I must give credit to Joseph Lawler at the Washington Examiner for the first column I have seen calling this out. Lawler interviewed a number of housing experts on Secretary Clinton’s housing plan and offers suggestions for what the other candidates should propose.

What does this state of affairs mean for the housing community? One thing is clear, and has been for some time: We must do a better job of framing the issue of housing affordability, its solutions and the benefits of those solutions if we want to get the attention, traction and ultimately the political support needed to turn the tide of America’s growing affordable housing shortage. This is not just an issue of how we as a community should communicate with presidential campaigns. It’s about building the support we need to get our work done every day.

NHC will address just this issue at our Solutions for Housing Communications 2016 Convening in New York City April 28-29. At this event you will have the opportunity to tour supportive housing developments to learn first-hand about their approval process and strategies to build community support. You will hear from urban governance and housing policy expert Dr. Joanna Lucio of Arizona State University and NHC’s own Amy Clark on the ideological roots of opposition to affordable housing. In addition to this and other powerful plenary sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from workshops on how issues like design, property management and education relate to winning support for affordable housing.

Our belief is that building support well on the local level is central to creating the kind of state and national support need to get the program improvements and funding needed to adequately respond to scope of the challenges we see in communities across the country.

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