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Northeastern Housing Leaders Highlight Regional Strategies for Preserving Green Rental Homes for Families

Partners in Innovation Forum Presents Ideas for Maintaining a Strong Affordable Rental Housing Stock That Also Improves Environmental Outcomes in Communities


Boston, MA (April 14, 2010) – The National Housing Conference (NHC) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation hosted Partners in Innovation: Preserving Affordable Rental Housing Through Energy Conservation today in Boston focused on highlighting strategies in the Northeast region for preserving green rental homes for families and individuals. Many Northeastern states and local communities are adopting policies to develop and maintain rental homes that are both green and affordable as they look to create a more viable housing stock for future generations. At today’s forum, leaders in the housing field and related industries shared regional best practices in green rental housing preservation and explored ways to better support this work through innovative partnerships, policy development, and legislative reform.

The forum featured an in-depth plenary discussion that touched on five key points including: 1) how best to integrate principles for making rental homes healthier and more energy-efficient in light of tight budgets; 2) appropriate energy-efficient performance standards for multi-family properties; 3) return on investment for green improvements; 4) ways to encourage greener preservation practices in the region; and 5) emerging trends in this ever-changing field.

The event also included two sets of interactive breakout sessions with panel discussions that focused on a number of topics – such as how to best educate tenants on the benefits of green housing and ways to fund energy-efficiency upgrades.

"A robust stock of affordable rental homes is essential to maintaining a healthy housing market, and can also play a pivotal role in helping communities achieve their larger energy conservation goals," 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 help inform green rental preservation initiatives."

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

  • Gregory Bialecki, secretary of the State of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development;
  • Tina Brooks, undersecretary for the State of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development;
  • Vincent O’Donnell, vice president of preservation at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation; and
  • Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Global Green USA.

To view the full list of speakers and panelists, as well as the program agenda, please Download the Agenda and Speaker List.

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 – this event marks the first in a series of three Partners in Innovation regional forums being hosted by NHC and the MacArthur Foundation. Additional forums are scheduled for Portland, OR and Denver, CO. 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 Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont were represented at the first forum.

The event was planned in partnership with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. Support for the networking reception was provided by the Barr Foundation.

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