This month, the NACCED Executive Board met in Washington, DC for their annual end of year meeting. The NACCED Executive Board consists of President, Mitchell Glasser (Orange County, FL), Vice President, Mary Keating (DuPage County, IL), Secretary/Treasurer, Cheryl Markham (King County, WA-joined telephonically), NACCED Rep. to NACo, Patricia Ward (Tarrant County, TX) and Immediate Past President, Karen Wiley (Salt Lake County, UT-not present). Also in attendance for the meeting was former President, Chuck Robbins (Clackamas County, OR). During their time in Washington, the group also met with officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Planning and Development Division.
The group first met with Benjamin Hobbs, a White House Policy Advisor for domestic policy. Hobbs is a former Special Policy Advisor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. The conversation with Hobbs focused around Opportunity Zones and how the Administration can make access to this new resource more accessible for communities across the country. The NACCED Executive Board had some pertinent suggestions for the Opportunity Zones rollout, and also relayed some of the issues happening at the local level with the tax benefit. The discussion also centered around making HUD resources more efficient and easier to use. At a time when housing costs continue to rise, it is important for the federal dollars to get a big return on investment. NACCED shared some ideas on how to make it easier for local governments to utilize HUD funds for important housing and community development projects.
Following the White House meeting, the group went to HUD headquarters where they met with Virginia Sardone, Director of the Office of Affordable Housing Programs, Peter Huber, Deputy Director of the Office of Affordable Housing Programs, Claudette Fernandez, the new Director of the Office of Block Grant Assistance, Steve Johnson, Director of the Entitlement Communities Division of the Office of Block Grant Assistance, Stan Gimont, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs, and Norman Suchar, Director of the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs. The discussion focused on what HUD grantees can expect regarding FY 2019 HUD appropriations, the future of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Continuum of Care program issues, the HOME Investments Partnership Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) set-aside, and more. These meetings provide NACCED with the opportunity ask questions of HUD’s decision makers, while also relaying information about what’s happening at the local level for grantees executing HUD programs.