F or over 25 years, HAND has served as the only multi-state regional membership association dedicated to supporting the community development industry in its efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Through education, engagement and training, HAND builds the capacity of its members to support the development of sustainable communities for people 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.
HAND was founded by John D. Spencer, Senior Vice President of Victory Housing, Inc., in 1991. At the time, there was no association presence that could provide support to nonprofit real estate developers. Additionally, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program had recently been introduced by the federal government as a new financing mechanism for the production & rehabilitation of affordable housing, among other state and local programs. These developments spurred a series of monthly brown bag lunch meetings, where local and regional housing professionals would lead discussions and provide critical training. An annual meeting and awards ceremony was also launched beginning in 1997.
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.
Since incorporation, HAND has grown to over 350 dues-paying members that are working to build strong, vibrant communities throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan region. The organization remains true to its mission of building the capacity of its membership, and consistently trains over 1,000 individuals each year.