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National Housing Conference announces hire of new president and CEO

N.C. affordable housing leader Chris Estes to assume housing nonprofit’s top spot July 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 27, 2012                                     

Contact:
Cynthia Adcock or Blake Warenik

202.466.2121 (ext. 226 or 240)
cadcock@nhc.org; bwarenik@nhc.org        

WASHINGTON—The National Housing Conference (NHC), the nonprofit affordable housing advocacy group known as the United Voice for Housing, today announced that Chris Estes will join the 81-year-old housing organization as its new president and CEO effective July 23. Estes is currently the executive director of the N.C. Housing Coalition, a post he has held since 2003.  In his new position, Estes will lead NHC’s policy and advocacy work both in Washington and throughout the country. He will also work closely with NHC’s research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, to make the case for affordable housing and develop effective housing policy solutions. In making the announcement, NHC Chair John L. Kelly cited Estes’ record of successful leadership and organization-building expertise.

 “Chris brings the skills and vision to strengthen the coalitions around housing that can marshal our collective strength in the difficult times ahead,” said Kelly. 

Estes joins NHC’s Washington headquarters after nine years at the helm of one of the country’s best-known state housing groups. During his tenure, he implemented strategies to successfully grow the N.C. Housing Coalition into one of the nation’s most effective state coalitions.  He is widely credited with building the staff, broadening the coalition’s membership and forging productive relationships with both political parties at the state and federal levels, increasing the supply of affordable housing in the state and improving the quality of life in low-income communities. 

Estes said he looks forward to the challenge.  "I am honored with this extraordinary opportunity to lead NHC during this critical period.  There is a new urgency around housing issues—a level focus we have not seen for many years.  I aim to make NHC a stronger leader on housing issues, bringing my own experience to expand on a strong tradition.  I hope to grow a vibrant "big tent" of advocates that maximizes the voices and power of the affordable housing spectrum to improve federal funding and develop more effective housing policy for the country.”

Estes already had extensive experience in economic development, smart growth advocacy, welfare reform, workforce development, affordable housing development and asset-building research before joining the N.C. coalition as its executive director in September 2003. He holds masters degrees in Social Work and in City and Regional Planning, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. He worked closely with the Coalition's partners on a shared legislative agenda and promoted the Campaign for Housing Carolina across the state.

Estes will work with a newly elected leadership team at NHC, including Kelly, a partner in the New York office of law firm Nixon Peabody.  Kelly’s first official duty as Chair of the Board of Governors of NHC was presiding over the 2012 Housing Person of the Year Gala.  Speaking to the approximately 700 attendees representing virtually every national housing organization in the country, Kelly said, “The whole housing world has been turned upside down and all assumptions are open to challenge.  This can be, and has been, scary, but it also opens opportunities for NHC to play an important role in seeking consensus and in setting a new agenda going forward.”  Kelly said he will work closely with the NHC Executive Committee and Board of Governors to bring about needed change in a thoughtful way.

Other newly elected executive committee members include:

Ted S. Chandler, Vice Chair
Chief Operating Officer, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust

Eileen Fitzgerald, Secretary
Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks® America

Shekar Narasimhan, Chair of the Audit Committee
Managing Partner, Beekman Advisors, Inc.

See a full list of NHC’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors
See a full list of NHC’s Board of Trustees and Life Trustees

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