F or over 25 years, HAND has served as the only multi-state regional membership association dedicated to supporting the community development industry in its efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Through education, engagement and training, HAND builds the capacity of its diverse membership comprised of nonprofit and for-profit housing developers, resident service providers, lenders, government agencies, policy analysts and others, to support the development of sustainable communities for people and families at all income levels.
To support a professional community of housing providers in order to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.
HAND was founded by John D. Spencer, Senior Vice President of Victory Housing, Inc., in 1991. While serving as the Director of Multifamily Programs for the Arlington Housing Corporation (now AHC, Inc.), John convened a group of Northern Virginia affordable housing leaders to discuss the launch of a new trade association that would build capacity for nonprofit housing groups. At the time, other trade associations existed that supported for profit developers, however issues of relevance to the nonprofit sector were not their focus. During the second convening, the late Virginia S. Peters, former executive director of Wesley Housing Development Corporation, advised John to begin offering membership meetings and build the organization from there.
The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers was officially launched in 1991, with a series of monthly brown bag lunch meetings, where local and regional housing professionals would lead discussions and provide trainings. In addition to the monthly meetings, an annual meeting and awards ceremony was held each June beginning in 1997. Over time, HAND became regional as members were added from Maryland and the District of Columbia. As both the frequency of meetings and the budget of the organization grew, it became imperative that HAND incorporate and establish a board of directors to guide its growth. With the pro bono assistance of the law firm of Arnold & Porter, HAND was incorporated in June 1998 and obtained its IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Since incorporation, HAND has grown to over 250 dues-paying members that are working to build strong, vibrant communities throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan region. From 2005 – 2012, HAND was led by Jill C. Norcross, its first executive director and first paid staff person. In March 2012, Heather M. Raspberry joined HAND as its new Executive Director.