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Federal, State and Local Leaders Convene In Portland to Discuss Vital Need to Preserve and Improve Affordable Rental Housing

Partners in Innovation Forum Examines the Challenges and the Opportunities for Preserving Affordable Rental Homes in the Northwest and Nationwide


Portland, OR (May 17, 2010)
- More than 200 federal, state and local leaders convened in Portland today to discuss the vital need to preserve and improve affordable rental housing in the Northwest and nationwide. Sponsored by the National Housing Conference (NHC) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the day-long forum, entitled Partners in Innovation: Financing the Preservation of Rural and Urban Affordable Rental Housing, focused on examining the challenges and the opportunities for preserving affordable rental homes in urban and rural areas. With a special emphasis on funding preservation efforts, the forum brought together public officials, industry experts, and advocates to discuss and explore ways to better support this work through innovative partnerships, policy development, and legislative reform. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary Carol Galante delivered the keynote luncheon address. The forum was held at the Doubletree Hotel Portland.

“The preservation and improvement of the nation’s affordable housing stock can have a lasting impact on not only communities, but experts agree that decent, safe and affordable housing can help ensure better health and educational outcomes for families and their children,” said NHC President and CEO Maureen Friar. “This forum is intended to help attendees take these ideas to scale by providing the tailored information and targeted tools necessary in order to inform affordable rental housing preservation initiatives.”

Specific forum discussion topics included: Why Preservation Matters - The Importance of Preserving Federally Subsidized Housing; Regional Best Practices in Rental Housing Preservation; Financing Preservation - The Oregon Experience; Long Term Project Sustainability; Making the Case for Public Investment in Preservation; The Role of Philanthropy in Policy Development and Social Programs; and Rural Roundtable: Overcoming Challenges, Leveraging Resources, and Implementing Solutions.

This Partners in Innovation event presented an outstanding line-up of keynote and featured speakers including:

•    Michael Bodaken, president, National Housing Trust
•    Nick Fish, commissioner, City of Portland, OR
•    Maureen Friar, president and CEO, NHC
•    Carol Galante, HUD deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing (keynote); and
•    Victor Merced, director, Oregon Housing and Community Services

To learn more, visit: www.nhc.org/index/partners-in-innovation-portland.

Designed to build on the MacArthur Foundation’s Window of Opportunity Initiative, a $150 million commitment to preserving America’s affordable stock of rental homes, the Portland forum marks the second in a series of three Partners in Innovation regional forums being hosted by NHC and the MacArthur Foundation. The third and final forum is scheduled to take place in Denver, CO, in September.

The forums seek to expand upon the work of nonprofit and government organizations in 12 states and cities that received a total of $32.5 million in grants and low-cost loans from the MacArthur Foundation last year to help preserve more than 70,000 rental homes. Awardee delegates from organizations in Oregon and Washington were represented at today’s forum in Portland.

For additional information, please contact Lynn Ross, NHC director of state and local initiatives, at lross@nhc.org or (202) 466-2121, Ext. 237.

Thank You!

NHC gratefully acknowledges the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their generous support and leadership as the overall Portland forum sponsor. NHC also thanks the Meyer Memorial Trust for their sponsorship of the networking reception.

In addition, NHC and the MacArthur Foundation would like to sincerely thank the following organizations for their help in planning the forum: Casa of Oregon, Neighborhood Partnerships, Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Oregon Opportunity Network, and the Portland Housing Bureau.

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Contact: Michele Anapol
(202) 466-2121 x226
manapol@nhc.org