Archive for category: HAND News

Five Minutes With Maia Shanklin Roberts

April 10, 2022
April 10, 2022

The HAND network is hard at work to address the growing housing affordability challenge across the Capital Region. Five Minutes With is a series highlighting these members and other stakeholders. This informal conversation delves into their recent projects, the affordable housing industry, and more.  In this edition, we had a conversation with Maia Shanklin Roberts the Vice President
of Real Estate Development for Preservation of Affordable Housing
. Check out our dialogue below to learn more about the Barry Farms project, her work experience, and her words of wisdom for the next generation of leaders of color!

HAND: Congratulations on your new role at Preservation of Affordable Housing! Are there key takeaways from your experience thus far that you are bringing into your new position? 
MSR: Key takeaways: Engagement of community is essential in a successful affordable housing project. In my role, I am responsible for taking inventory of all of the various stakeholders on the project and discerning how best to utilize their skills/resources for the project. And most importantly, I have to be thoughtful in how to engage marginalized voices in the process because it is these stakeholders that are most impacted by my decisions.

HAND: You have extensive experience in a wide range of complex affordable housing development and real estate transactions – can you tell us about your journey to this point
MSR: I was an affordable housing attorney from 2017 to 2021. When going to law school, I knew that I wanted to do work that could create systemic change in low-income and urban communities. It was the sole purpose of going to law school. I am from DC, where I learned firsthand the realities of the impact divestment had on black and brown communities. Then after graduating college, I came back to DC to work for the Peaceoholics, where I worked with youth in gangs and crews and learned that unless we bring real resources to their communities – there would be no way we could truly curb the violence and other issues that plague our community. That lead me to law… and my desire to work to provide economic resources to my community. I loved it until I realized that I could do more. I could be that designer and bring my skills and talents, and perspective as a black woman from the community into my work. 

HAND: What excites you about your new role? Do you foresee any challenges? 
MSR: Working on affordable housing projects in DC excites me the most. Barry Farm is a major redevelopment, and it is my job to work with my team to imagine and implement a plan that could transform the lives of former residents and the DC natives. That’s huge! Of course, there will be challenges. On top of the challenge of developing a multi-phase project – infrastructure and vertical buildings… we also must address issues like gentrification, protecting former residents’ right to return, systemic poverty, and equity all within the project. 

HAND: Do you believe there is a “secret sauce” to addressing housing affordability and creating more equitable communities in our region? If so, what do you think that is? What do you think is the largest obstacle?
MSR: Not necessarily secret sauce… I believe you just have to operate with the assumption that your purpose as a developer of affordable housing community is to be the voice for the underserved and marginalized. Therefore, it is your job to increase opportunity for diverse and equitable participation at all levels in the project, and to ensure that you deliver a project with resources and amenities that provide equitable outcomes for the community served. I think the largest obstacle is that what’s “market” is not equitable. And so you constantly have to push this agenda with all stakeholders from your financing partners, to contractors, to national commercial tenants. In all ways, you have to ask on every call/with every decision, what more can be done to be inclusive and maximize opportunity and benefit for those who are not sitting at this table because of systemic racism and marginalization.

HAND: What is your “why”? What keeps you motivated to continue your work in this space?
MSR: There are not many people in leadership that look like me, and I want to change that. Our work directly affects black and brown communities. We must have more people of color in leadership and working on these transactions to ensure that they are best served.

HAND: Keeping in mind the history of racism and its impacts on housing, how can leaders of color or, more specifically, women leaders of color in the real estate industry move the needle in a different direction?
MSR: Your voice is needed. Don’t allow anyone to take that away from you. I think the most significant barrier is for the myriad of reasons we aren’t seen… I make it my business to be seen. I am passionate about my work and I don’t have any fear of speaking up and being the only one in the room if I have to be.
 

HAND: If you weren’t working in this industry, what might you be doing?
MSR: I would probably be doing similar work… lol, and traveling to warm and sunny destinations with my family.

Need Support With BEPS Compliance?

April 10, 2022
April 10, 2022

 


With only one year left until the first major DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) deadline, the Building Innovation Hub recently released a new suite of tools to support you with BEPS compliance! HAND is proud to share the Building Innovation Hub’s resources below, which will help you navigate the regulations and enable easier building upgrades.

  • BEPS Compliance Pathway Wizard. This will help you understand which BEPS Compliance Pathway is most appropriate for you and your building.
  • BEPS Compliance Pathway Timelines. This will inform you about interim deadlines and major milestones associated with each BEPS Compliance Pathway.
  • Energy Audit Scopes of Work. Building Innovation Hub offers one version specific to the requirements outlined in the Prescriptive Pathway and another to help you choose a BEPS Compliance Pathway.
  • Find-A-Vendor Portal. This simple notification system will share project opportunities with local service providers and contractors via an email distribution list. The portal is now open and ready for building owners and representatives to submit their BEPS or energy-related projects to Building Innovation Hub’s list of vendors.
  • Request a BEPS Presentation. The Building Innovation Hub is in the process of training local experts in all the details of the BEPS regulations. If you’re interested in holding a presentation at your office or building about BEPS, please request one.
  • Contact the Building Innovation Hub. If you have any questions or need additional support, please contact the Building Innovation Hub directly at info@buildinginnovationhub.org.

 

From “Cradle to Career” | APAH’s Mission to Support the Next Generation Fund

March 28, 2022
March 28, 2022

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) has received an exciting leadership gift from Tim and Diane Naughton, which was matched by AvalonBay Communities, to directly impact children and youth living in APAH communities from “cradle to career”. This combined $500,000 gift is part of a holistic strategy around youth programming called the Next Generation Fund. 

This initiative seeks to foster the expectation and provide support to enable every child living in an APAH community to graduate from high school and pursue college, or vocational training, to achieve a family-sustaining job that allows them to thrive. 

Check out the official press release here.

Five Minutes With Christy Zeitz

March 15, 2022
March 15, 2022

The HAND network is hard at work to address the growing housing affordability challenge across the Capital Region. Five Minutes With is a series highlighting these members and other stakeholders. This informal conversation delves into their recent projects, the affordable housing industry, and more. In honor of Women’s History Month, we are excited to share this special edition of Five Minutes With. In this edition, we had a conversation with Christy Zeitz the CEO of Fellowship Square. Check out our dialogue below to learn more about Fellowship Square’s farewell tour, Christy’s advice on how to make affordable housing projects work, and her words of wisdom for the next generation of female leaders!

HAND: As CEO of Fellowship Square, you bring extensive leadership experience in management, fundraising, marketing, and program development. Can you tell us about your journey to this point?
CZ: I do my best work when interacting with others, so I’ve always sought opportunities to meet new people, learn from them, and take the next step forward in my career. Along every step along my way to my current position as CEO of Fellowship Square, I’ve proactively learned from others, embraced challenges, and worked hard to attain stretch goals. Those priorities have served me in every position I’ve ever had – across all the organizations I’ve worked with and functions that I’ve had. The guiding focus of my professional life has been to make a measurable difference in the lives of others, and this is truly the most rewarding part of my journey.

 

HAND: What strategic financing and collaboration strategies can you share to ensure that affordable housing providers like Fellowship Square can continue to serve vulnerable residents with dignity over the long term?
CZ: To make affordable housing projects work, it takes smart, creative people working collaboratively. Fellowship Square is one of the leading providers of affordable housing and services to low-income seniors in the region, operating 670 units and serving roughly 800 residents. We’ve put structures in place so that the rental cost is never more than 30% of a resident’s annual income – making our communities some of the most affordable in the region for seniors. The key strategies that underly our work: collaboration, creativity, and openness to new approaches. Whether for the benefit of an owner, investor, residents, or the community as a whole, there are news ideas and options that must be uncovered and teased out in some way. If we go into a project thinking we are going to do it the way we’ve always done affordable housing projects, there will be a missed opportunity somewhere. Openness to new ideas is key. We and other housing nonprofits like us have the unfortunate challenge of competing against the for-profit developers for things like land and construction costs. These costs can be staggering – and create major barriers to building more affordable housing. We must be open to new ways of thinking, new partnerships and the unexpected twists and turns that get our projects done. Sometimes the “right” approach requires writing a new playbook.

 

HAND: Fellowship Square has launched a “farewell tour” of the 1970’s Lake Anne Fellowship House in preparation of moving 300+ residents from the original 50-year-old building to a brand-new state-of-the-art residence across the street. Can you tell us more about this undertaking, why it’s important and any challenges you may foresee?
CZ: Lake Anne Fellowship House, originally built in 1970, was the first senior housing and first affordable housing developed in Reston. Over the past 50+ years, the property has provided housing to more than 1,300 low-income seniors. Yet the building was showing its age and upkeep of the property was exceeding the amount residents pay in rent and the subsidies received from HUD. About seven years ago, our Board decided that the best path forward was to replace the existing 240-unit building with a new facility. 

This is where creativity and openness to new approaches came in. We embarked on a joint venture with Enterprise Community Development with whom we were able to craft a novel solution: instead of relocating the residents temporarily until a new building was built on the existing footprint, we would construct a new building on an underutilized portion of the current site. This would substantially reduce logistical demands as well as the number of relocations our residents would need to make. Under this creatively structured deal, once our residents are moved into the new building this spring, Fellowship Square will demolish the original building, market rate townhouses will be developed, and the land sales proceeds will be reinvested as part of the overall financing package. 

Of course, financing for affordable housing is never simple. The development team needed to secure project based rental vouchers for 100% of the units and create the right mix of financing for such an ambitious goal. In addition to our partnership with ECD, financing also came from diverse arrangements with Virginia Housing and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, Virginia Community Capital, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity provided through Enterprise Housing Credit Investments by Capital One, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and, of course, HUD. In fact, much time and effort were expended convincing HUD as to the critical need to preserve the deep subsidies for the existing very low-income residents and making sure they would be eligible to move to the new building so that all residents who wished could be accommodated.

All of this was accomplished. We broke ground in 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic!) and residents will relocate this spring to the newly built Lake Anne House. The property comes with some of the best amenities, services, and environmentally sustainable features. Residents will appreciate its gym, arts room, game room, wellness clinic, beautiful outdoor terraces, wifi throughout the building and more. We will also continue to have a full time Service Coordinator onsite to serve our residents.

But the grand finale is bittersweet – for the residents who have lived at Lake Anne Fellowship House for many years, for long time staff who have worked in that building for years, and for Reston community members who have visited the property, strolled through the hallways, and visited friends and family there. This is a major change, and I know there will be some tears shed. Sometimes it’s hard to say good-bye even when a bright new future lies ahead. We have a ”farewell tour” of programs to communally and collectively celebrate our community, this building, and our memories here as we prepare for the move to the new residence.

 

HAND: Do you believe there is a “secret sauce” to addressing housing affordability and creating more equitable communities in our region? If so, what do you think that is? What do you think is the largest obstacle?
CZ: There’s no “secret sauce” to housing affordability. In my mind, it’s more like a “Las Vegas buffet” of options, opportunities, considerations, and collaborations – and the plate for each region may be filled quite a bit differently. In the Washington DC Metro area, our housing needs span the spectrum of price points, amenities, services, and financing. The affordability factor is a core fundamental part of supporting the local workforce. As such, creating more affordable housing has to be a community effort – it can’t just be left to the housing advocates to fight for. The community as a whole has to come together to embrace housing affordability for all.  The more collaborators at the table, the more varied our buffet of options and the more success we can have.

The type of affordable housing will vary community to community, but collaboration across organizations will always be key.  For example, very low-income residents, especially those below 30% AMI, require significant subsidies.  Beyond rental assistance, this often includes the need for the provision of services including transportation, healthcare, food assistance, healthcare, mental health services, and more.  This means that affordable housing management must also be able to access public and private resources to augment standard housing management activities.  Fellowship Square accomplishes this by building a deep network of resources within our local community to plug into. Our vulnerable residents can access care managers who can provide or refer the residents to appropriate services in our community. This is important to build and foster.

 

HAND: In March we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Given your extensive leadership experience, what advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership, and how have you overcome those barriers?
CZ: Few things make me prouder than to see young women asserting themselves and stepping up when they have an opportunity to lead. There are so many valuable traits and perspectives that we all benefit from when women are in leadership positions. For today’s emerging female leaders, they cannot sit by and wait to be asked to lead – it’s much more important that they seek out and even create those opportunities.

Sometimes the biggest barrier to reaching the next level in our careers is how we hinder ourselves. Whether through self-doubt or even other commitments, it comes down to priorities and having a vision for our own professional futures. Nothing will be handed to us on a silver platter – nor should it. Working hard and getting ahead is where you learn to grind it out and become a true inspirational leader. Leadership comes from experience, it comes from perspective, and those both come from hard work. But hard work that results in great leadership cannot be achieved in the shadows!

Women must always put themselves at the table – and in my experience, there’s always a way to have your voice heard in those circles, whether directly or indirectly. Regardless of someone’s position on a staff flowchart, each individual person can be a leader in some respect. Young women who may feel they aren’t in a position of leadership can still have an important impact on the trajectory of projects, assignments, teams, and workplace culture. Show initiative and you will be rewarded.

As you can tell, I’m very much an optimist. I always believe that what I want to happen can happen, it’s up to me to figure out how to make it happen. And the only thing holding me back is my own ideas of what I can and cannot accomplish. I hope other women can learn from this.

HAND: What is your “why”? What keeps you motivated to continue your work in this space?
CZ: Working in the affordable housing space is a little like making dreams come true. For too many people today, having a safe, affordable, and stable home can seem out of reach. Being a part of helping to make this dream of housing happen is a daily motivator for me. Nearly every week, I get at least one call from one of our 800+ residents who wants to tell me about what’s going on in their life. They never hesitate to say how thankful they are that they live at Fellowship House. This is what keeps me motivated every day. I am so proud of the work my organization does, and really appreciate the time and effort the Board and staff put into our mission.

 

HAND: If you weren’t working in this industry, what might you be doing?
CZ: I’d be living in the Caribbean, working on my side hustle as a fiction writer…and helping anyone who asked!

 

 

 

Five Minutes With Gregory Hare

January 27, 2022
January 27, 2022

The HAND network is hard at work to address the growing housing affordability challenge across the Capital Region. Five Minutes With is a series highlighting these members and other stakeholders. This informal conversation delves into their recent projects, the affordable housing industry, and more. In this edition, we had a conversation with Gregory Hare, who has recently transitioned to his new role as the Assistant Secretary and Director, CDA, for Maryland DHCD. Check out our dialogue below to learn about Gregory’s journey in the affordable housing space, what he believes is the “secret sauce” to addressing housing affordability, and his views on how leaders of color in the real estate industry can tip the scales differently.

HAND: Congratulations on our new role as the Assistant Secretary and Director, CDA, for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development! What excites you about your new role? Do you foresee any challenges?
GH: Thank you, I appreciate all the well wishes. There are so many things that excite me about coming into this role. First, I have the opportunity to work with talented and high-performing people – who’ve I’ve grown and learned alongside since I’ve been with the Agency. This position gives me the freedom to incorporate new perspectives into CDA’s approaches. I realize the potential and the opportunity in front of us – to intentionally do more – and knowing how we can positively transform communities excites me. 

Like any organization, if you want to be effective in today’s environment, you have to be innovative, open to new ways of doing and new ways of thinking; and that’s not just from an operations perspective; it has to be deeper, which takes time with any organization, but especially in State government.

HAND: You have extensive experience in the affordable housing space – can you tell us about your journey to this point?
GH: Like many things in life, your spark is often your frustration. I wanted to impact the community, so after college, I joined Baltimore Housing, working in various capacities before ultimately serving as the Administrator for the Rental and Assisted Housing division. Early in my career, I recognized the power of policy and its impact on our communities. When I joined DHCD in 2014, I quickly realized that if you listen to people, they’ll tell you what’s at the heart of problems, and, in most cases, they’ll also share how to fix them if you keep an open mind. So, my journey has really centered around what people say their needs are and creating or improving programs to respond to those.

HAND: What is one thing you wish you would have known at the beginning of your career?
GH: At the beginning of my career, I wish I’d known to narrow myself before looking to expand. Being really good at one thing will serve one well throughout an entire career. So, taking my time to reach mastery in one space has been significant. Subject matter expertise will serve you for a lifetime.

HAND: Keeping in mind the history of racism and its impacts on housing. How can leaders of color or in the real estate industry tip the scales differently?
GH: I think we’re fighting a trillion-dollar problem with a one-hundred-dollar mindset. Leaders often take what is happening in the world today, and they don’t look back. They look at the surface-level ways to help disadvantaged people and think they’ve fixed the problem, but the deeper issue to solve is why they are disadvantaged. And when you start to understand those institutional issues, you realize this work won’t move until we work intentionally and collectively to tip the scales.

HAND: Do you believe there is a “secret sauce” to addressing housing affordability and creating more equitable communities in our region? If so, what do you think that is? What do you think is the largest obstacle?
GH: The activist Jane Jacobs’ quote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” If you have a goal you can do by yourself, it’s not big enough, so we must change our mindset and come together on solutions as big as our problem.

HAND: What is your “why”? What keeps you motivated to continue your work in this space?
GH: People are my why. Everything I do is to serve people in a way that makes circumstances better for them.

HAND: If you weren’t working in this industry, what might you be doing?
GH: If I weren’t working in the affordable housing industry, I would probably be an inventor. Over twenty years ago, I built a device to measure “how well” one was driving, like today’s insurance devices that reward good driving. During a presentation of the concept, I glanced down at the executive’s notepad and realized he was drawing stick figures, so I canned that idea.

ATTN Developers | Prince George’s County DHCD Request for Qualifications

January 6, 2022
January 6, 2022

 

Request for Qualifications: Right of First Refusal

The Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development is seeking responses (“Qualification Statements”) from qualified non-profit and mission-oriented for-profit developers (“Developers”) with strong affordable rental housing track records and demonstrated experience in acquiring, owning, operating, rehabilitating, and developing quality rental housing with affordability covenants who are interested in serving in a pool of qualified parties to serve as assignees or designees (the “Roster of Responders”) to exercise DHCD’s Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”). For more information on the ROFR and to respond to this request, please review the ROFR developer bench application. The proposal closing date is January 31, 2022.

 

 

Didn’t Meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards? Help is Available

December 13, 2021
December 13, 2021

 

Didn’t Meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)? Help is Available.

The DC Sustainable Energy Utility, in partnership with the District Department of Energy & Environment and the DC Green Bank, launched an Affordable Housing Retrofit Accelerator program offering enhanced technical and financial assistance to owners and managers of qualifying District affordable multifamily buildings that do not meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). Apply today to find out if your building qualifies for the program, for the program, and join the DCSEU and DOEE for a webinar on December 15 to find out more.

 

 

Five Minutes With Evelyn Immonen

November 22, 2021
November 22, 2021

The HAND network is hard at work to address the growing housing affordability challenge across the Capital Region. Five Minutes With is a series highlighting these members and other stakeholders. This informal conversation delves into their recent projects, the affordable housing industry, and more. This month, in honor of November being American Indian Heritage Month, we are excited to share this special edition of Five Minutes With. In this edition, we had a conversation with Evelyn Immonen, a Program Officer for Enterprise Community Partners’ Rural and Native American Programs. Check out our dialogue below to learn more about the importance of having Native Americans in places of leadership, the recent movement to reauthorize NAHASDA, and advice on how you can help support the continuing of this important work beyond November!

HAND: Can you tell us about Enterprise Community Partner’s Rural and Native American Programs and about how you landed in this space? 
EI: Enterprise Community Partner’s Rural and Native American Programs provides resources, capacity building support, and technical assistance to organizations to help create safe, decent, green, affordable homes in both rural and Native communities. Enterprise is one of several national intermediaries in the affordable housing space, and I joined them from the Housing Assistance Council which focuses exclusively on rural America. I’m proud to see the work Enterprise does in these geographies growing.

HAND: Can you speak on how you approach your work in this space? Also, can you touch on the importance of having Native Americans in positions where they affect the issues facing their communities?
EI: My family has heritage with the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and we have family ties on Standing Rock as well. I have always felt a connection to that history and sought to give back when I went to grad school for public policy. In my career, it wasn’t so important what issue I was working on so long as it was improving Native communities: I had an opportunity to work in affordable housing and now I’m happy to dive deeper into that. There are so many professionals in this sector that are incredibly knowledgeable, especially on the Rural and Native American team. Still, it’s rare to see organizations support Native people who have really been raised on the reservation and in ceremony—but that ought to be their core constituents, since it’s the communities who are most remote and most entrenched in generational poverty that need the greatest resources. There should be more Native Americans in positions where they can make a change simply because we will always hold a flame under the issues and not let anyone off the hook. That’s often what it takes in these spaces. Coastal elitism is quite real and it’s easy to tokenize without doing real work. I hope that I’m able to effectively bridge those two cultures, but at the same time I consider it a great obligation and responsibility.

HAND: Do you believe there is a “secret sauce” to providing both affordable and culturally relevant housing on tribal lands? What do you think is the most significant obstacle?
EI: Well, every housing development on tribal lands should start with the tribe themselves. If not the elected tribal council, then the housing authority they have appointed in their place. This is probably the clearest path to an affordable housing development that’s culturally relevant: by stepping aside to allow leaders from the community make decisions and direct priorities. Tribes are the most likely to be their own developers on their own lands, but even in cases of partnership with another developer, its not only respectful to defer to the tribe, but often they will have access to additional funding or be able to expedite approvals that make the project’s success possible. That leads me to the obstacle, though, because Native tribes are overburdened with many obligations and staff capacity is constantly an issue. Of course, these issues are quite complex and its difficult to make generalizations about all the different circumstances, but I think bringing more resources and assistance to a tribe-directed project is really the secret sauce.

HAND: Last month, in an article you reflected on how the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) has transformed the landscape of Indian Country. Can you discuss the recent movement to reauthorize NAHASDA in both the House Financial Services Committee and Senate, and how the affordable housing community can continue to support the NAHASDA for the next 25 years?
EI: Reauthorizing NAHASDA and funding it in full is absolutely critical. Without authorization, there is nothing holding Congress accountable to funding the program each year, despite the over 40,000 single family and 25,000 rental homes developed over the last 25 years that prove how effective the legislation is. Reauthorization bills would also move the Tribal HUD-VASH program out of demonstration, and restructure HUD to better prioritize Native Housing. There has been legislation introduced to reauthorize NAHASDA in every Congress since it expired in 2013, and this year there is movement in both the House and Senate, but I don’t think it will ever come to fruition without pressure from advocacy organizations.

I’m optimistic to see that NAHASDA was funded at $875 million this last round of appropriations, which is the highest it has ever been. At the same time, if we consider inflation over the years, this still does not set up the program with the same resources it had in the first year of its existence. Now the cost burden of homeownership is rising, the population of Native Americans are rising, and the cost of construction materials post-2020 are rising. Every policy actor who works in the affordable housing space should be applying pressure to our legislators to prioritize NAHASDA.

HAND: Enterprise Community Partners recently completed the first Native Homeownership Learning Communities Cohort (NHLCC). What are some of the lessons learned from this?
EI: While I didn’t get the chance to work with the cohort while it was ongoing, I was really optimistic about what I saw in the Impact Report, which I helped put together. Enterprise’s team has really built up their expertise in homeownership in Indian Country over the years, through the Enhancing and Implementing Native Homeownership curriculum. What was different about NHLCC was that it was not geared just towards one tribe’s homeownership program but worked with 18 different groups for over a year. I think participants really valued the peer-learning component and the chance to learn from more experienced tribes as opposed to disengaged federal agencies. There was also a unique emphasis on collaboration with CDFIs, and groups expressed that they learned more about each other through NHLCC than working together on the same reservation for years. I would recommend checking out the Impact Report for more information, which also includes a profile of each tribal housing organization’s accomplishments over the cohort period.

HAND: What are you most looking forward to at the Rural and Native American Program over the coming months? Are there any projects or programs you are particularly excited about?
EI: I just mentioned Enterprise’s expertise in tribal homeownership, but I’m really looking forward to being a part of expanding our Native expertise into multi-family and rental as well. Enterprise is authoring a Native Developers Guide which will assist developers of multi-family and rental homes on Native land. It’s going to be comprehensive and include every stage of development so that TDHEs, Housing Authorities, and Non-profits have all the information they need in one place. At the same time, I’m excited to make this about more than just one publication and to hopefully have a hands-on, collaborative approach to making sure this is a useable and useful document for tribes.

Enterprise has a lot more on the horizon as well, and our team is continuing to educate the organization as a whole on working with tribes, including through a new Native American Advisory Council that’s forming with other Native nonprofits. We’re also expanding out of the lower 48 with new work in Alaska and Hawaii, so stay tuned!

HAND: We want to help support the continuing of this work beyond November, so what advice would you give someone who doesn’t know where to start and is seeking to make an impact? On the other end of the spectrum, what are some next steps for someone looking to advance the work they’re already doing work in this space
EI: First, you have to know your history, especially working in Native spaces. That doesn’t mean just the history of genocide and displacement, but also the legal history. The law is a living and breathing entity, and Indian Law has a number of complicated twists and turns in the fight for recognition of tribal sovereignty—several of these are covered in this blog post by my colleague Dustin Baird.

Then, its important to make change in your organization so that that history is recognized today. Land acknowledgements are a good way to start doing that, because it sets the intentions of any given meeting to focus on the land, its original inhabitants that still to this day consider it sacred, and our obligations to be good stewards to that land and to each other.

Finally, my advice to anyone currently working with Native communities: if you’ve been to one reservation, you have been to one reservation. Every Native Nation has their own land, treaty, history, culture, and government, and no two are the same. Make no assumptions, stay humble, and show up consistently. We need more of you.

Build Back Better Act Update

November 4, 2021
November 4, 2021
Last month, President Biden announced a final framework for the Build Back Better Act. The once $3.5 trillion plan now $1.75 trillion, outlines $150 billion in affordable housing investments including: 
  • $25 billion in rental assistance
  • $65 billion to preserve the public housing infrastructure
  • $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 homes affordable to extremely low-income households
Last week, an amended version of the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation was released. Despite pressure to bring down the cost of the legislation, the amended version proposes a historic investment and key measures to strengthen the Housing Credit. The following Housing Credit production proposals were included in the updated version:
  • Lowering the bond-financing threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent for five years, from 2022 to 2026,
  • Increasing the annual Housing Credit allocation at a rate of 10 percent per year plus inflation from 2022 to 2024, which amounts to a roughly 41 percent increase over current levels in 2024, followed by inflation adjustments after 2025,
  • Providing a permanent 50 percent basis boost for properties serving extremely low-income (ELI) households, along with an 8 percent minimum set-aside for properties taking advantage of the ELI basis boost, as well as a limitation on the amount of allocation and volume cap that can be used for properties receiving the ELI boost, and
  • Providing a permanent 30 percent basis boost for properties in Indian areas.
Read the NLIHCEnterprise and AHTCC e-blasts for more details. 

We invite you to participate in a survey about DC’s housing market!

November 2, 2021
November 2, 2021
Judith Keller, a research scholar from Heidelberg University, is conducting a housing survey focusing on the Washington DC region. She aims to gain new insights into residents’ experiences on the housing and rental markets. If you are interested in participating, please find the link to her survey below. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Your help is very much appreciated!