About Us


Founded in 1991, HAND is a nonprofit membership association comprised of over 450 organizations working across the private, public and nonprofit sectors to collaborate in the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. Through education, engagement and regional advocacy, HAND empowers its diverse membership collective to improve lives through the development of equitable communities.






HAND envisions a region where everyone shares equitably in the knowledge, wealth and resources uniquely represented in and between Baltimore, Washington and Richmond. HAND strives to be the leading convener, educator, and activator of a diverse, cross-sector membership that collaborates in the preservation and development of communities where all can live and 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.


Over 450 individual & organizational members representing 20+ sectors:

Real Estate Developers
Government Agencies
Resident Services
Homeless Services

Law Firms
Construction Firms
Property Managers

Green Building
Utility Companies
Housing Counselors
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.