About Us


HAND is a nonprofit membership collective comprised of over 450 institutions working across the private, public and social sectors to collaborate in the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. Representing the ecosystem of partners who collaborate in bringing equitable communities to fruition, HAND works to disrupt the systems that perpetuate inequity in the communities we serve. We do this by embedding racial equity into our operations, practices, and programming, and activating our membership through policy forums and advocacy designed to drive impact for Black and brown communities residing at the sharpest intersections of inequity. 


CONVENE Provide opportunities for members to come together across jurisdictions and sectors and strengthen relationships in support of a shared commitment to equitable development. 

EDUCATE Engage and support members through collaborative learning, trainings, and resource sharing that builds our members’ capacity to dismantle structural racism and drive action towards solutions that address the region’s affordable housing crisis. 

ACTIVATE Amplify our collective voice and leverage our unique ability to challenge the “business as usual” paradigm to advance equity and justice through policy, systems, and institutional change.


HAND envisions a future where Black and brown communities share equitably in the knowledge, wealth and resources uniquely represented in and between Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. Despite continued economic growth, the rise of inequality persists – with compounded inequities impacting communities of color, challenging their humanity and opportunity to realize their full potential. HAND remains committed to catalyzing research and bold solutions that realize the promise of a region where ALL can thrive.


To support a professional community of housing providers in order to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.


Since incorporation, HAND has grown to over 450 dues-paying members that are working to build strong, vibrant communities throughout the Capital Region. The organization remains true to its mission of building the capacity of its membership, consistently training over 2,500 members each year.


Unique to HAND is the depth and breadth of disciplines represented within its member base, including over 450 individual & organizational members representing 20+ sectors:

Construction Firms
Faith Institutions

Government Agencies
Green Building
Homeless Services
Housing Counselors
Law Firms

Property Managers
Real Estate Developers
Resident Services
Utility Companies
Universities & Students


For over 30 years, HAND has been committed to supporting its members who are driven by a shared goal of addressing housing affordability. In 1991, John D. Spencer, Senior Vice President of Victory Housing, Inc., launched the organization to equip nonprofit real estate developers with ongoing training and peer to peer support. Early HAND members learned from each other by way of monthly brown bag lunch meetings in the basement of a church, starting a tradition that continues to this day via HAND’s Training & Capacity Building Series.

Over time, as the political landscape and market dynamics shifted, the appetite for HAND grew. The organization expanded into a regional entity as members joined from Maryland and the District of Columbia, and it became increasingly imperative that HAND incorporate and establish a board of directors to guide its progress. 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. 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. HAND’s membership has evolved into a unique collective of institutions who are aligned by a collective mission to create diverse communities anchored by affordable housing, where all residents are provided opportunities to thrive.