NHYC, NHC Honor Affordable Housing Leaders at Annual Symposium

National and local affordable housing leaders were recognized for their incredible commitment to affordable housing and for their support of economic growth, job creation and recovery.

New York—National and local affordable housing leaders were recognized for their incredible commitment to affordable housing and for their support of economic growth, job creation and recovery. They were honored on Dec. 8 at the New York Housing Conference (NYHC) and the National Housing Conference (NHC) 38th Annual Awards Program, one of the largest gatherings of housing professionals in the nation, which was held at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. With nearly 1,300 government officials and affordable housing leaders in attendance, this year’s Awards Program highlighted the importance of affordable housing as a means to encouraging economic growth, job creation and recovery.  It also featured several symposiums designed to address some of the most pressing issues currently facing the affordable housing industry.

“This year’s theme of job creation and recovery is important for the entire industry as it really embodies everything about affordable housing—where the industry is going and how important it is to the economic recovery,” said Judy Calogero, CEO of the New York Housing Conference. “Not only are we creating affordable housing for people in need, but we are also creating jobs and enabling people to afford to live near where they work within their salaries.”

“Given the economic environment we face, the affordable housing industry needs to coalesce more than ever before to address the challenges and combine our limited resources,” remarked Dan Nissenbaum, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Housing Conference and Managing Director of the Urban Investor Group at Goldman Sachs. “The NYHC and NHC Awards Program is a great platform for convening different interest groups to talk about what’s best for the city, how different programs can work together, and how to develop affordable housing most broadly.”

This year’s Award Program Honorees have contributed to various aspects of affordable housing:

·         Clara Fox Award for Outstanding Achievement − John L. Kelly, New York, NY

John Kelly is a Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP with 36 years of experience representing for-profit and nonprofit developers, owners, and operators in complex affordable housing transactions, including acquisitions and sales, ground leases, development agreements, and financings (private or public). From the earliest Section 8 restructurings and HOPE VI developments to New York State and City Mitchell-Lama Programs and the first Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) transactions in New York, Kelly has weaved many critical government programs into complex affordable housing deals and supported housing policy through the NYHC and the NHC to ensure that New York’s residents have access to vital housing.

·         Private Developer of the Year − The Hudson Companies, Inc., New York, NY

Hudson Companies is a New York-based private real estate development company. Founded in 1986, Hudson currently develops new construction and rehabilitation in affordable, institutional and market-rate housing. To date, Hudson has completed more than 4,250 housing units, and has almost 2,000 additional units currently in construction or predevelopment. It is also committed to creating jobs: at Gateway Elton Street, a multi-building, mixed-income and mixed-use development that will serve as the neighborhood center of New York City’s ambitious new Gateway Estates community in East New York, over 800 jobs will have been created by its completion, mostly from Brooklyn and the neighborhood itself, with additional jobs expected from the retail space.

·         Nonprofit Developer of the Year − Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc., Brooklyn, NY

Fifth Avenue Committee is a Brooklyn-based non-profit community development corporation founded in 1978 to address housing, tenants’ rights, commercial revitalization, crime prevention and vacant lots in Park Slope. Since then, it has been committed to advancing economic and social justice by building vibrant, diverse communities where residents have genuine opportunities to achieve their goals and the power to shape their community’s future. Fifth Avenue Committee has developed more than 1,000 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, bringing over $300 million in direct investments into South Brooklyn. In addition, it has trained and connected over 2,000 low-income New Yorkers to good jobs that pay a living wage and often offer benefits through its workforce development affiliate Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI).

·         Public Service Award − Donna Gambrell, Washington, DC

Donna J. Gambrell, Director, US Dept of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund has worked to increase economic opportunity and promote community development investments for underserved populations and distressed communities. Under her leadership, the Fund has seen significant growth, more than doubling its funding under its flagship CDFI-certification Program. In 2010 alone, certified CDFIs reported over $350 million in affordable housing investments, resulting in 15,979 rental units and 1,799 owner units. In addition, Gambrell has guided the CDFI Fund’s administration of the innovative New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. Since its inception in 2000, more than $12 billion have been invested in real estate activities across the country, including 5,125 units of affordable housing and nearly 93 million square feet of commercial real estate.

“What this year’s honorees have in common is not only their unwavering commitment to affordable housing, but their collective ingenuity to adjust, adapt and succeed in this economic environment,” noted 2011 NYHC & NHC Annual Awards Program Chairwoman Deborah VanAmerongen. “With their innovative partnerships, clever use of financing tools, and quest for solutions, they have all contributed in some way to stimulating the industry, generating jobs, and encouraging growth and have created a path to recovery that others in the industry can emulate.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized by such prestigious organizations as the New York Housing Conference and the National Housing Conference,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “The CDFI Fund has always encouraged affordable housing as an integral component of community development initiatives. I am proud to accept this award on behalf of the CDFI Fund, and on behalf of CDFIs across the nation that are making affordable housing a priority in low-income neighborhoods.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the Awards Program featured five symposiums covering a range of challenges the affordable housing industry is currently grappling with, including:

·         Market in Bloom: The Investors Behind the Tax Credit Market Resurgence and Should We Be Planning for More Volatility?

·         Green is the New Green: How Underwriters and the Development Community are Transforming Their View of Green Investments

·         To Tweak or Not to Tweak: Is the Tax Credit Program Working the Way We Need It to?

·         In the Year 2525: Imagining a World without Fannie and Freddie and the Latest Updates on GSE Reform

·         New Kids on the Block: How will the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils Affect Affordable Housing Funding?

Capital One Bank was the lead sponsor of this year’s awards program.

“Capital One Bank is honored to support the 2011 NYHC and NHC 38th Annual Awards program and congratulates this year’s honorees on their achievements,” said Laura Bailey, Managing Vice President, Community Development Finance, Capital One Bank. “At Capital One Bank, we work closely with our local partners to invest in opportunities that not only provide quality, affordable housing for those in need, but also create hundreds of jobs for the community. “

According to the Center for Housing Policy’s report The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development, The National Association of Home Builders estimates that building 100 new Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units for families leads to the creation of 80 jobs from the direct and indirect effects of construction and 42 jobs supported by the induced effects of the spending.

Founded in 1973 by Clara Fox, an icon in the affordable housing industry, the NYHC joined NHC as its first regional affiliate in 1976. NYHC advocates for the housing needs of all New Yorkers through positive change in public policy and promotes adequate resources, workable regulations and to raise public awareness of the need for and benefits of affordable housing. The Annual Awards Program attracts more than 1,200 attendees comprised of key government officials, leaders in affordable housing, and economic development and social services, as well as private developers, architects, and engineers, financial institutions, nonprofits, trade associations, lawyers, and many others.

Back row: Bill Frey, Enterprise; John Rhea, NYCHA; Russell Land, CPC and NYHC’s Young Leadership Council (YLC); Dan Nissenbaum, Goldman Sachs/Board Chair of the National Housing Conference; Marionn Zucker, NYS HCR; Carolyn Harris, Cannon Heyman and Weiss/YLC; Judy Calogero, NYHC; Marc Jahr, NYC HDC; and Michael Lappin, CPC.

Front row:  Stephanie Knepper, SKA Marin/YLC; Michelle de la Uz, Fifth Avenue Committee; Bill Fowler, Hudson; John Kelly, Nixon Peabody; David Kramer, Hudson; Donna Gambrell, CDFI; Laura Bailey, Capital One; and Deborah VanAmerongen, Nixon Peabody/Program Chair. [Photo Credit: Photobureau]

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