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What emerging leaders have to say on affordable housing

For the past few weeks, we have had the opportunity to read some inspiring and innovative essays on the future of housing from some of our industry’s brightest emerging leaders. The best essays have been awarded a scholarship for travel to Chicago for the Foundations for the Future of Housing Conference, a collaboration between the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Urban Institute. NHC is hosting the opening reception on the evening of Monday, October 28.

This conference seeks to navigate new pathways for addressing current and future challenges in affordable housing to bolster economic success and the well-being of families and communities. We look forward to these emerging leaders sparking new thinking as they continue their housing careers.

Storytelling is a great way to share the impact of the work we do. We not only learn a lot, but we can see how the work we do makes a difference in the lives of the people and communities for whom we advocate. We cannot do this work alone and this collaboration with Urban Institute fosters one of NHC’s core beliefs: we are only as strong as our diverse members and partners.

I’m pleased to share a few highlights from our top essay winners. We hope that you will continue to be energized, as we spark new ideas for the future of housing.

“Housing inequality is one of the cornerstones of injustices in America. Our history is plagued with discriminatory housing policies such as redlining. The failure of our leaders, both in government and industry, to rectify these inequalities is devastating. The responsibility falls to our future leaders. I intend to be one of the next generations of affordable housing leaders who will create a better tomorrow for America’s renters and homeowners.”- Daniel Scheinman, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing

“Everyone deserves to have housing options in ideal areas. Design is also a critical element in creating housing that works well and keeps residents happy. Smaller units that have shared communal spaces for the residents to use would be highly effective. Less square footage would mitigate the cost to build and rent out these spaces.” – Logan Ashby, Virginia Commonwealth University

“It is impossible for someone to live a stable life without a home. You cannot be expected to earn decent money in decent conditions, maintain your physical and mental health, and help those who depend on you when you don’t know where you’ll be sleeping every night. But as the cost of housing skyrockets, causing people to pay over half their income on rent, that is the situation many find themselves in. Government – local and federal, have the greatest power to reverse this crisis by allowing more production of high-density homes, setting requirements of the number of units in new developments that must be affordable, and increasing the number of housing vouchers for low-income households.” – Justin Cook, Metro Housing Boston

“Cities must facilitate conversations between community-based groups and housing investors to adopt policies that lead to the development of high-quality, affordable housing that is reflective of community needs.” – Stephanie Pazarin, Global Institute for Public Strategies

“Rising housing costs, immobilizing education debt, and stagnant wages have made it harder for millennials to survive and thrive in the state I’ve always called home. Solving the state’s housing shortage isn’t exclusively about creating places to sleep, it’s about creating places to live. Housing is central to the social and cultural fabric of our communities. The value of a diverse supply of housing isn’t just about providing affordable shelter, but about what happens beyond the mailbox, too.” – Sarah Wrightsman, Workforce Housing Coalition for the Greater Seacoast

“The housing system must be flexible. Broad cultural, economic, racial, climate, technological and other changes will continue to shift living patterns, and a successful housing industry will need to be adaptable.” – Olivia Barrow, Low Income Investment Fund

We welcome and look forward to having these new Emerging Leaders as a part of NHC’s membership. Their value, insight and commitment to housing will expand our mission ensuring safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America.

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