Workforce Housing Forum GuideA
The Workforce Housing Forum Guide provides technical and financial assistance to help plan, organize, and conduct a forum to address your community’s workforce housing needs. The guide includes tips and tools for setting goals, identifying partners, selecting speakers, managing resources, handling logistics, and examples of successful forums conducted by other associations.
It’s not every day that a community can plan its own redevelopment from scratch. Following last fall’s devastating wildfire that destroyed Paradise, California, however, that’s exactly the silver lining that the town was facing. The neighboring Oroville Association of REALTORS® is taking the lead in steering the new development toward a Smart Growth way of thinking.
Greenville, S.C., faces significant shortages of affordable housing, and the existing supply is diminishing rapidly. Using a Housing Opportunity Grant, the local REALTORS® co-hosted a Housing Forum to show policy makers how they could break down barriers to developing housing in the essential “missing middle” range.
A Diversity Initiative Grant helped the Middle Georgia Association of REALTORS® bring elected officials, community leaders, homeowners and potential homebuyers together to create partnerships to address the communities most basic needs and brainstorm affordable housing solutions to a county facing a nearly 23.5% poverty level.
Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® Uses Diversity Grant to Commemorate Historic 50th Anniversaries
In remembering the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in their own city 50 years ago this spring, the REALTORS® of Memphis, Tenn. marched two miles to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. But that was just the beginning of a strategic plan that shines a bright light on cultural diversity, fair housing, and anti-blight initiatives.
When the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) received an Ira Gribin grant from NAR a few years back, it funded a statewide initiative to study the benefits of placemaking in workforce housing. “As REALTORS®, we have been all about land use planning for a long time, but now we clearly need to focus on placemaking, specifically, as the real key to reversing the fortunes of the housing market here in Michigan.” says 2012 MAR President Beth Foley. Placemaking is a progressive movement that creates improved and distinctive public spaces by involving community input. In February 2012, when Governor Rick Snyder announced his own support for placemaking policies to help spur the state’s flagging economy, state leaders asked MAR to lead the way. Using a $15K Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR as seed money, the association did just that by hosting “MI Great Places,” the state’s first Placemaking Leadership Forum.
The Nevada Association used its Housing Opportunity Grant from NAR to help sponsor "Under One Roof" – a forum addressing employer-assisted housing programs. The January 28 event drew dozens of employers, as well as government and community leaders to encourage more employers to help their workers access quality housing through employer-assisted housing, a benefit that helps employees meet their housing needs. Nevada REALTOR® Dawn Lane, who organized the event, explained that employer-assisted housing is a key component to successful businesses. "Employees who own their own homes nearer to work stay with a company longer, are more productive, have fewer absences and have more stable home lives," she said.
Orange County REALTORS® weren't going to let a shutdown stand in the way of their outreach and education programming: moving entirely online and increasing the number of classes offered, they reached more members than ever. Among the highlights: Virtual town halls connected REALTORS® directly to their members of Congress.
Summary: The lack of affordable housing for Los Angeles County workers is driving businesses out of state. The Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® is responding to the crisis with REALTOR® Party-funded programs like its recent “Housing Our Workers Forum,” which brought together local stakeholders and officials to discuss solutions.
Last fall, with four seats on the Town Council up for grabs, the Telluride Association of REALTORS® (TAR) made the most of the opportunity to promote candidates who espoused the values of affordable housing; sustainable growth and development; and economic vitality and vibrancy. With an Independent Expenditure, TAR conducted a campaign that helped elect three REALTOR® Champions.
Raising awareness about the link between good schools and good communities – and how to strengthen both – was the focus of a day-long forum called “Connecting the Dots Between Where Kids Live and Where They Learn." The 29,500-member Virginia Association of REALTORS® used a Housing Opportunity Grant to co-sponsor the day-long forum where 200 attendees explored ways to improve school performance, which in turn, increases housing desirability and values.
The Virginia Association of REALTORS® was first struck by the isolation and vulnerability of many rural regions across the Commonwealth when a string of tornados hit. So, when the non-profit organization Housing Virginia approached VAR to partner in a Rural Housing Initiative grant it had received from the USDA, the association agreed wholeheartedly. With 5 of its local associations and the use of Housing Opportunity Grants, the two organizations conducted a series of Rural Housing Forums across the state to address housing challenges particular to rural areas.