WASHINGTON DC METRO – April 4, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Housing needs are rising as the number of homeless families and children reach staggering proportions, but providing housing opportunities to a varying level of incomes is also a key component to sustaining the region’s economic vitality. Without equitable housing, local employers are faced with recruitment and retention issues, and city planners must tackle smart growth, land use and transportation challenges. Newly released data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach 2013 underscores the nearly unattainable cost of renting an average two-bedroom apartment in the D.C. area: a minimum wage earner has to work approximately 132 hours a week just to pay the rent in the region. In response to this surging housing crisis, a new coalition of more than 150 nonprofit, private and faith-based organizations and individuals today announced the launch of the Communications Action Network (CAN). CAN will share housing research and success stories that promote the positive impact housing affordability has on the economy for both employers and its workforce, as well as encourage discussion that promotes regional strategies to meet the Washington region’s growing housing needs.
“The challenges have never been greater for creating and preserving housing for people at all income levels, yet our area’s housing industry still manages to create quality housing that is aesthetically pleasing and affordable in an attempt to address this huge and growing need,” said M. Craig Pascal, senior vice president for community development banking at BB&T Bank. “At this critical time, we are gratified to see political momentum building across our region for new policies and funding that can produce housing people can afford,” added Pascal, who convened CAN in collaboration with the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development.
CAN’s core message is that the metropolitan region thrives when there are housing opportunities for people of all incomes. Benefits for us all include the creation of diverse and vibrant communities; quality development and sustainable design; transit – oriented development that promotes housing near our job centers; workforce recruitment and retention; and solutions for the unmet housing needs in the region. This regional communications campaign has received acknowledgment and enthusiastic support from multiple sectors, with the goal of elevating the level of awareness and concern regarding the region’s needs for housing affordability.
To further propel the CAN message, the network launched its new website www.CANInitiative.org, where visitors can find the latest research, resources, success stories and more. On May 18, the group will host the region’s first affordable community “Parade of Homes,” in which approximately 20 affordable communities throughout the region will invite the public to come and see firsthand the benefits these communities provide both for the families who live there and our region’s economy. More information about the 2013 CAN Parade of Homes and the CANpaign is provided at www.CANinitiative.org.
The Communications Action Network (CAN) is supported by a grant from the United Way of the National Capital Area, and convened by BB&T Community Development Bank and three area housing organizations – the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers and the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance. Other CAN members hail from a variety of sectors focused on community revitalization, including affordable housing development and preservation, residential services, financial institutions, as well as utility companies and law firms.
Laura K. Nickle 703-698-8151
TeAnne Chennault 213-399-6467