MacArthur Awards for Creative & Effective Institutions

National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy

Washingon, District of Columbia | 2009 Award Recipient

Reshaping the national housing policy agenda

The National Housing Conference has a 75-year history at the forefront of housing issues. Among other victories, the Conference led the fight for the passage of the Housing Act of 1949, the most ambitious housing and urban renewal legislation Congress ever enacted, which called for “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family.”

The Conference is known as the “United Voice for Housing,” with the broadest membership of any national housing organization comprised of for-profit and nonprofit housing developers, banks, corporations, advocacy organizations, and nonprofit institutions from across the housing industry.

Active in its outreach to legislators, the Conference is at the center of the federal government’s response to the mortgage crisis and exit tax relief, and has taken a leadership role in helping the housing community to prepare for the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Bill.

The Conference’s research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, has studied the housing needs of moderate-income people for more than 14 years. Its influential series on working families, including “Housing America’s Working Families,” and “Paycheck to Paycheck: Working Families and the Cost of Housing in America” focused attention on the plight of ordinary people. Its influential report, “A Heavy Load,” explored the combined costs of housing and transportation. It has summarized housing’s role in education and health programs in levels of detail suitable for both general and academic use. Recently, the Center has launched a website targeted to state and local policymakers.

Together, the Conference and Center make a persuasive case for a coherent, cost-effective housing policy, interlinked with investments in transportation, schools, healthcare, and the environment.

The National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy will use their $650,000 award for strategic planning and targeted technology investments to strengthen their educational and communications capacity.


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