On October 17th, Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW) hosted Building Opportunities, a panel discussion with four experts, representing diverse and intersecting fields, in conversation about what works and what is next in affordable housing development. The luncheon, held at the Ivy Room at Tree Studios, also coincided with the completion of HOW’s first ground-up new construction affordable housing development (16 units in Evanston, Illinois) which will open its doors to new residents by the end of the month.
Britt Shawver, HOW’s CEO, welcomed the over 110 attendees, highlighted the relevance of HOW’s work, and introduced the panelists: Katrina Van Valkenburgh, managing director for the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Central Region; Robin Snyderman, founder and principal of BRicK Partners; Tony Smith, senior vice president – community development banking at PNC Bank and Jim Fox, CEO of North Wells Capital, HOW’s board president and the panel’s moderator.
The panel offered attendees unique insight into the ways corporate, nonprofit and government entities are working together to solve the current housing affordability crisis. Speakers offered a summary of the current state of affordable housing, outlined effective policies and resources required to increase development, and also discussed the challenges inherent in the creation of new affordable housing.
Because of the diverse backgrounds of the panelists, the conversation tackled questions about affordable housing from different perspectives and covered a wide array of topics including immigration, segregation and lack of community support for adorable housing development. However, the discussion ended on a hopeful note with panelists sharing their thoughts around opportunities and ways to solve the affordable housing crisis with a specific focus on partnership and innovation.
Building Opportunities would not have been possible without the support of its sponsors including—HOW Champions: Chicago Capital/Jim & Kay Mabie; HOW Benefactors: Deloitte, Mayer Brown and Denis & Martha Pierce; HOW Sustainers: the Impact Investment Company, Jenner & Block, JLL, North Wells Capital, PNC Bank, Urban Innovations, and Urvi & Apurva Shah, and HOW Partners: ATG, Larry Berlin The Poblocki Sign Company, and Shree Star, Inc..
HOW was founded in 1983 as the city’s first transitional housing program for women. Today the organization is the third largest provider of permanent supportive housing in Chicago, offering housing and comprehensive case management and support services to thousands of clients each year.