One of the best parts of my job is helping identify honorees for our Annual Housing Visionary Awards Gala, to be held at the Anthem on June 20, 2023. We work with some incredible people, but there are always a few that truly stand out. Recognizing their contribution to our mission is an important part of what we do at NHC. We celebrate with a great party, but it’s the work we celebrate that really matters.
This year, the National Housing Conference (NHC) is thrilled to recognize some of our most impactful colleagues: Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance and Susan Dewey, CEO of Virginia Housing with the Housing Visionary Award, and Doug Bibby with the Carl A.S Coan, Sr. Award for Public Service. Lisa, Susan and Doug are distinguished leaders in housing and community development whose work has helped move our nation toward NHC’s goal of decent, affordable housing for all.
Lisa’s leadership at NFHA is at the forefront of efforts to advance fair housing principles, preserve and broaden fair housing protections, and expand equal housing opportunities for millions of Americans. She played a major role in crafting sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and in establishing the Office of Fair Lending within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also helped lead the investigation and resolution of precedent-setting fair housing cases, which have resulted in providing remedies for millions of people as well as the elimination of systemic discriminatory practices involving lending, insurance, rental, and zoning matters.
NFHA’s Keys Unlock Dreams is a nationwide initiative dedicated to providing consumers and communities with the resources and expert advice they need to build thriving, inclusive communities and make homeownership a reality for millions of people. She is also a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Black Homeownership Collaborative.
Susan Dewey has served as Virginia Housing’s CEO since 1999, where she has built the Commonwealth’s housing finance agency into a nationwide leader, often recognized for its innovation and outstanding execution. Virginia Housing’s work on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Homeowner Assistance Fund are often cited as best practices in delivering emergency assistance to renters and homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Susan and Lisa are valued members of NHC’s National Advisory Council, and widely recognized leaders in all of the work we do.
We are also recognizing Doug Bibby, former President and CEO of the National Multifamily Housing Council. Just a few months ago, I attended a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with Doug and other national housing leaders, where he made an impassioned case for helping more low-income renters gain access to Housing Choice Vouchers. “There’s no reason why anyone who needs one shouldn’t be able to get and use a voucher,” he said. He has also spent much of his career, at NMHC and as a senior officer at Fannie Mae, working to develop affordable housing throughout the United States.
Carl Coan was an icon of affordable housing policy for two decades, when he was the staff director of the Housing Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate. Senator William Proxmire, who as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee authored the Community Reinvestment Act, said Coan “had a knack for recognizing the idea whose time has come or for devising the compromise which would work politically. As a result, he got things accomplished, year after year, because they were practical.” He considered Coan a “practical idealist” reflecting that in Washington, “pragmatists are often cynics, and idealists are often ineffective. But in Carl, the pragmatism and tactician’s skills were simply instruments for pursuing ideals.” That is an apt description of Doug’s career and describes well what NHC seeks to accomplish every day.
I hope you will join us in honoring these truly visionary housing leaders on June 20 at the Anthem. For more information, you can go to our website at https://nhc.org/event/gala/ or contact NHC’s Chief Operating Officer Amanda Mitchell at email@example.com for information on sponsorship and attendance.