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Richmond Racial Equity Essays

October 6, 2021
October 6, 2021

Richmond Racial Equity Essays is happy to announce the content of the Richmond Racial Equity Essays project. Richmond Racial Equity Essays is a multimedia project focused on advancing racial equity in Richmond, Virginia.  Click HERE to take a look.

Inspired by The Just City Essays, DEI consultant and urban planner, Ebony Walden teamed up Meghan Gough from VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and urban farmer and activist Duron Chavis, to create The Richmond Racial Equity Essays, a multimedia project comprised of a collection of 24 essays, 7 video interviews and an 8-episode podcast series focused on racial equity in Richmond, Virginia. The project captures nearly 50 voices from all walks of life and sectors that explore what an equitable Richmond would look like, especially as it relates to racial equity, and highlights the strategies that will help us get there. The hope is for this project to lead Richmond (the former capital of the Confederacy) toward a solid framework for how to advance racial equity and be a model for discussion in other cities.

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Key BEPS Updates That Will Impact Your Projects, Public Comments Open Until August 23

August 2, 2021
August 2, 2021
HAND is pleased to continue to keep you in the know on all things BEPS. Since 2019, HAND & NHT has brought together our members and partners to discuss the potential impacts of DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) on affordable housing and develop implementation recommendations for the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE). As defined by the DOEE, BEPS is “a minimum threshold of energy performance for existing buildings that will be no lower than the local median ENERGY STAR score by property type (or equivalent metric).” These standards were created to help meet the energy and climate goals of the Sustainable DC plan. Recently, the DOEE has made updates to the Second Proposed BEPS Compliance Regulations (starting at page 95) and BEPS Compliance Guidebook. The Second Proposed BEPS Compliance Regulations includes; a summary of public comments received on the first proposed BEPS Compliance Regulations and DOEE’s responses, standards for privately-owned buildings’, which buildings are subject to the BEPS rules, and regulations requirements for buildings that are not in compliance. The BEPS Compliance Guidebook provides additional information on the specific requirements of each compliance pathway, compliance methods and protocol requirements, and criteria for granting flexibility to affordable housing. We encourage you to review these documents to learn more about the changes, information about the requirements, compliance methods, and enforcement of the BEPS Program. If you would like to weigh in on these documents, both publications are open for public comment until August 23.
Significant updates to the BEPS Compliance Regulations to note:  The non-compliance penalties capping amount has been updated to cap at $10/square foot (previously it was up to $20/square foot). The other significant change is that affordable housing is re-defined “as a building with at least 50% of units affordable to tenants making 50% of AMI or less” (previously it was defined as “a building with at least 50% of units affordable to tenants making 80% of AMI or less.”)
Other Related News: Montgomery County introduced its plans to increase its building energy standards. The hearing was covered by The Washington Post and WTOP News.

May 18, 2021
May 18, 2021
A Note About Your Privacy
HAND Members & Partners,
It has come to our attention that some of you have received phishing email messages that offer to sell ” the attendees list for HAND’s Annual Meeting & Housing Expo” containing members’ contact information. Below is an example of a phishing email sent to one of our members.
We take your privacy very seriously and would not compromise our membership data under any circumstances. HAND is not in any way affiliated with the sender(s) of these communications. Please disregard any messages of this kind. If this update looks familiar, you likely read it in one of our previous notices. We want to take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to your privacy and ensure that all members are made aware of this information. We encourage you to check your email settings to ensure that those types of messages are blocked moving forward. Please don’t hesitate to forward any similar phishing email to the HAND team, and as always thank you for your continued support. 
HAND Staff

Why we STILL say their names

May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021


Our Why
Nearly a year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd took his last breaths under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin. The protests and calls for justice that followed flooded our television screens and inboxes. HAND also issued its own statement condemning the manifestations of white supremacy and systemic racism that still exist today – from the most subtle to the most blatant. As America reacts to today’s guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial and in the hope for continued justice, we know our work must continue as the impacts with race and racism will not end with one just verdict. HAND’s Board of Directors & staff remain committed to centering a racially equitable housing agenda and invite our members to join us in these efforts. We are still standing with the families of those who lost their lives to senseless police brutality. We still say their names. We will not be silenced as we center the lived experiences of people of color. We will move boldly and unapologetically in our commitment to dismantling the violent system of white supremacy. Our vision statement speaks of “a region where everyone shares equitably in the knowledge, wealth and resources uniquely represented in and between Baltimore, Washington and Richmond.” This language was not crafted to give lip service or performative promises of the work we hope to accomplish. This is our North Star.
For the last six years, we have been intentional in our approach of reaching beyond the symptoms of inequity to address the root causes that amplify housing disparities and restrict access to opportunity for communities of color. The organization has been deliberate in the curation and design of programming to build our members’ capacity in operationalizing racial equity within their respective organizations. Our conferences are infusing content that challenges our thinking around gentrification and the history of discrimination, segregation and housing policy. Breaking the cycles of poverty and disinvestment are critical to supporting our sisters and brothers in living their fullest lives. Further, so many of these communities look like HAND – from our minority-led Board of Directors to the staff. This work is not simply a response to the recent social injustices we’ve seen, this is ingrained in our DNA. This is who we are. 
From the Inside Out
We are proud of our journey thus far and hope that each of you have found value in our offerings created to equip our members with critical tools and resources in this moment. What you may not know is that behind the scenes HAND’s Board has been hard at work along the way, building our own muscle in this space. And when we lost George Floyd in the middle of our racial equity learning series, we felt affirmed that the work of the preceding five years positioned us to be nimble in our response over the weeks and months to follow. We doubled down on our commitment to provide ongoing learning; while also modeling for our members what it looks like to implement racial equity in our work. This year alone, we have launched both the Housing Indicator Tool (HIT) – a policy platform grounded in a racial equity framework; and Equity in Action – a debt and equity platform designed to support black and brown real estate developers who too often face the obstacle of accessing the capital needed to execute their visions for equitable communities. At every level, we must consider what role we play in dismantling these toxic systems and structures designed to benefit a select few at the expense of others. Simply put, HAND’s Board of Directors, staff and committees are working in lock step to ensure our racial equity agenda is consistent, ongoing and grounded in action.
What we know for sure
Today’s decision is one important stop on the path toward equity and justice, but our work does not end here by any means. Oppression thrives on risk-adverse behavior. As a change association committed to centering racial equity, our role is to continually observe patterns around us, identify and solve for the problems that persist, and activate our members to lead with collective action. We’re humbled by the opportunities before us to create a real legacy that empowers our communities. The Board, staff and Design Team will be moving to discern more ways to engage our membership around this work. We invite you to join us over the coming months as we continue to agitate for a more equitable region.
Board of Directors
Monica Warren-Jones
Raymond Skinner
Past President
Consulting Services
Winell Belfonte
Sasha-Gaye Angus
Meghan C. Altidor
Nixon Peabody



Art Bowen
Virginia Housing
Sarah S. Constant
Mission First
Housing Group
Maria Day-Marshall
University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development
Edmund K. Delany
Capital One
Christopher E. Donald
DC Housing
Finance Agency
Gregory Hare
MD Department of Housing and Community Development
Brett Macleod
JPMorgan Chase, Community Development Banking Group
Derrick N. Perkins
Bank of America
Ernst Valery
Jessica Venegas
Community Solutions
John Welsh
AHC, Inc.
Stephanie Williams
Management Company
Heather Raspberry
Executive Director
Courtney Battle
Membership Director
Trianna Overton
Program Associate

April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021

HAND envisions a region where individuals at all income levels have access to affordable housing, and we uphold this vision by supporting the professional community of housing providers to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. To end the affordable housing challenge, we must examine not only how this problem has come to be, but also the present-day obstacles that challenge accessibility and production. As we continue to dissect the many root causes for the housing shortage we invite you to consider American Lumber. As of mid-February 2021, the price of lumber has reached historic highs, and due to these unusually costly fees, the affordable housing industry is concerned about its ability to continue to meet the demand for housing production. While the pandemic has driven a boost in the construction of single-family homes, apartment communities, and home improvement projects, American lumber producers are also struggling to meet the market’s demand. 

What to hear more about this critical issue? Hear what J. David Heller (The NRP Group), Caleb Roope (The Pacific Cos.), and  Tom Tomaszewski (The Annex Group) have to say about the American lumber shortage here.

Why HAND Chose to Place Racial Equity at the Center of Our Work

June 4, 2020
June 4, 2020

Without equivocation, HAND’s Board of Directors & Staff decries the manifestations of white supremacy and systemic racism upon which this country was founded and prevails today. Black lives matter. We say the names of our brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short in senseless brutality. We stand with their families in solidarity and affirm our commitment to remain dogged in our pursuit for justice.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Philando Castile. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Korryn Gaines. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Shantel Davis. Trayvon Martin. Botham Jean. Their lives matter. Yet, there are countless others.

Prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment, black lives were merely a fraction — an assigned value of three-fifths to be exact. Minimal progress has occurred to fully recognize and value black life. Four hundred years have passed, and black people are still fighting for their humanity, their freedom, their equality and now their survival. This country’s collective knee is still on the collective neck of black communities. All the while, a pandemic remains a lethal threat for people of color whose bodies have borne the burden of chronic disinvestment, active neglect, and continued insult resulting in toxic trauma and unrelenting stress and pain.

We remain committed to organizing you – our members, around an agenda focused on real paths toward a racially just and equitable region. We must rise to this moment. We must not be silent, rather boldly affirm our commitment to dismantle this vicious system of inequity.

HAND members last saw each other in person in March, when Dr. Ibram Kendi offered words for our racial equity cohort to reflect on. Today they seem to be more timely than ever:

“We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, that lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, love and persuasion… The actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self- interest, particularly economic and political and cultural. Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.”

Join us, HAND Members. Join us, as we rise up to meet this moment.

HAND Board of Directors & Staff

Let us rise to this moment.
Warning: some of the content below contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.
  I just wanna live  
  CNN commentator tears up over George Floyd's death: It's hard to be black in this country Zianna Oliphant gives a heartfelt speech about what's going on in the world  
  Must watch: Woman gives powerful speech to looters on streets of NYC U.S. flag drenched in blood  


Thoughts & Reflections from HAND Members, Ibram Kendi | Red Lines, White Papers, & Blue Prints: A Four-Part Learning Series Exploring the Dimensions of Racism and Strategies Towards Racial Equity

March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020


Many thanks to the cohort of 120 members & partners who joined us for the kickoff of Red Lines, White Papers, & Blue Prints: A Four-Part Learning Series Exploring the Dimensions of Racism and Strategies Towards Racial Equity in early March! Hosted at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health, the first session laid the foundation for the series with the topic of Structural Racism. We were pleased to welcome New York Times Bestselling Author of How to Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi, as the featured speaker. The powerful program delved into racism in its institutional and structural forms, and challenged cohort members to reflect on how racial equity can play a role in the work of affordable housing and community development.

We asked a few of our cohort members to share their initial reflections from the session:

  • Kahlil Gross, Senior Vice President–Director, City First Bank
  • Joanna Hoffschneider, Founder, Resolute Consulting LLC
  • John Spencer, CPA, HAND Founder & Senior Vice President, Victory Housing

More on what they had to say can be found below, followed by key moments from the speaker himself.

Thank you to our sponsors, Kaiser Permanente and Wells Fargo!


What struck you most about Mr. Kendi’s remarks? 
KG: His comment about needing to have hope in order to be a change agent is what has stuck with me the most. Our problems often look very bleak and overwhelming and it feels like people will never change enough to solve the problems we’re facing. Especially when you consider how long we’ve been dealing with them. What also struck me was his knowledge of how these issues present themselves globally. It reaffirms the common denominator I see in most effective change agents and that’s that they eventually approach these issues from a global perspective…or at least understand them from that perspective.

JH: Considering when our actions help an individual in need who may be oppressed by a racist power structure, versus when our actions actually work to change a racist power structure.  Acknowledging that while each of these actions are positive, they are not the same thing. We should not fool ourselves that individual help equates to systemic change.

JS: In some respects, Mr. Kendi’s remarks upset our affordable housing development paradigm by applying a different, and likely new, lens to the work we have been doing for years to preserve and create housing for low- and moderate-income families. While we all know the housing crisis has yet to be solved and is worse now facing new challenges in higher costs, reduced supply, gentrification and income equality, we also could take some pride in our successes along the way. Mr. Kendi’s remarks helped us understand we still have a long way to go and that instilling a racial equity lens in all that we do will truly help individuals, families and communities. To be an antiracist is to be an active participant in achieving racial equity.

If you had to describe how you felt leaving the program in one word, what would it be?  

KG: Cautiously-optimistic.

JH: Humbled.

JS: The most appropriate word for me would be “challenged.”  Though preserving and providing affordable housing is already demanding work, it is not enough to go work with the current processes and programs available.  Rather, you need to consider the outcomes of the housing and services you are providing, and if those outcomes are not equitable then you need to change those programs to truly achieve success.

Have you reflected on how structural racism impacts you in your career and other areas of your life? What are your initial observations?

KG: Absolutely.  It became obvious to me in grad school that the driving forces behind the community development industry is the white middle and upper-class establishment.  The solutions that come through the community development industry to address the problems in our neighborhoods don’t get funded or implemented until they understand the problem.  That means that the pace of progress, as it relates to most federal and philanthropic dollars, is always limited by their ability to view us as equal…needing the same systems, advantages and supports that they have.

JH: I’ve thought a lot about the twin concepts of individualization/generalization: When do we (I) observe a behavior by an individual (such as a homeowner) and see that behavior as representative of a group – most commonly a racial group?  When do I see an individual’s behavior as representing simply that individual? When do I benefit from these extrapolations myself?  When do I make them?  How do I hold myself accountable for the uncomfortable truth that I do make them?  And how can I challenge myself and others to see individual behaviors as just that?

JS: You definitely reflect on where you are in your life and that not everything you are or you have achieved is because of your own efforts. Whether it is the home and community you grew up in, the schools and educational opportunities you had, and the career ladder you followed, at some level you know that it was because of structural racism that was prevalent and perpetuated during those times in your life. I’m thankful that the area I’m from, the experiences I’ve had, and the career I chose, gave me opportunities to understand those disparities and try to do something about it.


Below are a few of Mr. Kendi’s noteworthy remarks:

On defining structural racism:

“When I think of structural racism, I think of the structure. What I think of is a set of collective policies – and really I define racism itself as a collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas.”

On the role of self interest in racist policies:

“We’ve been taught this narrative that institutions, individuals push policies because they’re ignorant and hateful – they hate Native people, they hate Asian people, they hate Black people or they’re just ignorant…so what we then need to do is teach them, is get them to start recognizing the human unity and love that persists…it sounds great, but the fact of the matter is what has always been behind structural racism has been self interest, has been economic self interest, has been political self interest, has been cultural self interest, and I think most Americans can understand that during the enslavement era people were enslaving people first and foremost to make money, and that by 1860 this small group of mega slave holders in the south who owned the vast majority of the four million Black people were the richest and most powerful group of people not in the United States, but in the world. Why were they engaged in this racial slavery? To make money – and they made lots of it…We’re still living in times of self interest…Back then it was literacy tests and grandfather clauses and poll taxes. Now it’s voter id laws, now it’s ‘let’s purge voters from voting rolls,’ now it’s ‘let’s cancel forms of early voting,’ now ‘let’s eliminate polling spots in Black and Latinx communities…'”

On the narrative of the American dream hurting Americans:

“…The narrative of the American dream itself, when it became extremely popular…that happened after World War II in the 1950s. What was happening in the 1950s in the sector? That is when you had the suburbanization of America. How did the suburbanization of America happen and who did it hurt? So when we look at for instance, the structure and the set of policies and then who benefitted from it – the actors who were not only critical in the expansion and the building of the suburbs, but the blockbusting of urban areas…the people who were benefitting the most were not black people who were forced, and Latinx people who were forced to stay in these urban centers…”



DC Comprehensive Plan Update

January 23, 2020
January 23, 2020

HAND Members & Stakeholders –

If you’ve been following along with our Regional Activations, you’ll know that the last quarter of 2019 was pretty eventful! In October, HAND, and its fellow members of the DC Housing Priorities Coalition, successfully advocated for key amendments that ensure affordable housing and the prevention of displacement are priorities of the DC Comprehensive (Comp) Plan. A recap can be found on our website.

As the primary document that guides what and where development occurs in the District for the next few decades, the DC Comp Plan has the power to stem the tide of economic and residential segregation. Mayor Bowser and the DC Office of Planning issued a draft Comprehensive Plan that, if approved, is a step in the right direction towards greater equity and opportunity.

Most recently, HAND sent a letter to the Office of Planning with comments to the last draft update. This letter emphasized HAND’s support of the amended Framework Element of the Comprehensive Plan as passed by the DC Council in October 2019, including its acknowledgement of the need for increased affordable housing and protections against displacement.

Learn more about the DC Comp Plan with this fact sheet.

HAND extends its gratitude to its Housing Priorities Coalition partners for their tireless efforts and commitment to advancing this critical document:

  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • DC Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)
  • Somerset Development
  • Coalition for Smarter Growth
  • Greater Greater Washington
  • United Planning Organization
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

We look forward to working with the above organizations as we continue to strive for a more equitable DC. Keep reading to hear from some of our coalition partners on the importance of the Comp Plan.

“The Comp Plan is DC’s foundational land use text. Revising it won’t change things overnight, or make housing more affordable, or more accessible, but without substantial changes to the Comp Plan—which determines the level of intensity of new development in DC, and where that new development goes—it’s impossible to redress some of the historic wrongs inherent in our land-use practices. The Comp Plan can increase the allowable density of the city, particularly in affluent, long-exclusive neighborhoods with robust amenities and services, which is necessary to increasing the amount of affordable housing built in those areas.”

– Alex Baca, Greater Greater Washington

“In October, the DC Council adopted into law a new Framework Element, or first chapter of the Comp Plan. This new element refocuses land use and development policy on affordable housing, preventing displacement of residents, and building a new racial and social equity lens into every aspect of the Comp Plan.”

– Cheryl Cort, Coalition for Smarter Growth

“The Comprehensive Plan sets a long-term vision for the physical growth and change of DC. It is critical that we update this foundational document to explicitly address the real-life issues District residents currently face: a severe lack of affordable housing, racial and economic segregation, and the displacement of lower-income residents. Now is the opportunity to make our priorities clear about how we want DC to develop and evolve in the years to come.”

– Adam Kent, DC LISC

“The Comprehensive Plan is DC’s guiding land use document, mandated by the 1973 Home Rule Act that gave the District a fully elected representative government. The Plan outlines an overall vision as well as specific policies to guide development in the city, and thus provides important direction about how and where the District will grow over time. If we can seize this opportunity and amend the Plan to set out a bold new vision for tackling our housing equity challenges as well as the climate crisis, it will create positive ripple effects across the region that will help to transform our housing and development policies for the 21st Century.”

-Patrick McAnaney, Somerset Development

“With so many struggling to make ends meet in an over-priced market in which they are underpaid, it is hard to choose the greatest priority between education, employment and housing. But at the end of the day, a stable home is the foundation of a stable life. Housing must be first, you can be educated and employed, but if your home is not affordable and decent, you will continuously struggle.”

-Katheryn Pierson, UPO


Members of
the DC Housing Priorities Coalition


HAND Members to Receive AHF 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards

September 24, 2018
September 24, 2018

Courtesy of Don Pearse Photography | West Turner Residences in Allentown, PA, by Pennrose Properties and Sacred Heart Hospital.

Congratulations are in order! Several HAND members have been named recipients of the 2018 Affordable Housing Finance Readers’ Choice Awards:

  • Pennrose Properties
  • The Community Builders
  • WinnCompanies
  • Somerset Development Co.
  • McCormack Baron Salazar
  • Preservation of Affordable Housing

According to Affordable Housing Finance, this year’s competition started with 153 entries, from which 36 finalists were selected. Newsletter and magazine subscribers then voted for the winners in each category plus an overall winner. An Editors’ Choice winner was also selected.

For a complete listing of winners and more details, check out this article.

Digital Classroom: Voter Registration | A Nonprofit’s Guide to Success!

September 13, 2018
September 13, 2018

Since the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, voter engagement efforts have played a vital role in our democratic process. Unfortunately, both low-income and minority citizens have historically been and remain underrepresented in the electoral process. In fact, only 33% of the low-income population in the U.S. is registered to vote. By encouraging residents in our communities to register to vote and ultimately cast their ballot, we can ensure that the voices of all are reflected in major public policy decisions.

In lieu of an in-person training, we’ve created a digital classroom, “Voter Registration | A Nonprofit’s Guide to Success” where members can download resources from Enterprise Community Partners, National Low Income Housing Coalition, the NAACP, Klein Hornig and Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) highlighting best practices to host voter registration drives within affordable housing communities. Thank you to our partners who were instrumental in organizing these resources, Virginia Housing Alliance and APAH!

Speakers include the following:

Melissa Bondi from Enterprise Community Partners, who will provide insights on engaging low-income communities to organize and engage in voter registration and GOTV efforts with highlights from a field case study.

Victoria Bouret of National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), who will provide an overview of NLIHC’s focus this year on mobilizing GOTV efforts within low-income communities.

Kim Phillip of the Arlington Chapter of the NAACP, who will provide an overview of the ways in which organizations can partner with their local NAACP affiliates to get low-income residents register, and active in voting. 

Jose Quinonez of Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), who will share APAH’s experience as a landlord in actively facilitating and hosting GOTV engagement activities with low-income resident in their community.

Teresa Santalucia of Klein Hornig, who will provide legal expertise on what types of civic and advocacy related activities in which non-profits can engage.

Sim Wimbush of  Virginia Housing Alliance (Moderator)

Ready to get started? Keep reading for your course materials!

Course Materials

Additional Materials