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 builds the capacity of its diverse membership to support the development of sustainable communities for individuals and families at all income levels.
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 2,000 members each year.
Over 450 individual & organizational members representing 20 sectors:
Real estate developers
Universities & students
In 1986, Congress created the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (Housing Credit), the country’s largest and most successful tool for financing the production and preservation of affordable housing (more than 3 million affordable homes serving 7 million households to date). The Housing Credit incentivized private developers and investors to play a critical role in creating more affordable housing. Fueled by a mission to serve vulnerable communities in the region, the Housing Credit also allowed nonprofit developers to scale their work in the space. In 1991, John D. Spencer, Senior Vice President of Victory Housing, Inc., launched HAND to equip these practitioners with ongoing training and peer to peer support by way of monthly brown bag lunch meetings in the basement of a church.
Over time, HAND expanded into a regional organization as members joined from Maryland and the District of Columbia. As 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. 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.
In three decades HAND’s membership has evolved into a unique collective of institutions who are aligned by a shared mission to create diverse communities anchored by affordable housing, where all residents are provided opportunities to thrive.