Building America Advisory Board Holds First Meeting, Moves Ahead with CDE Certification

April 29, 2010

The advisory board for Building America CDE, Inc. (Building America), a wholly owned subsidiary of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), held its first meeting on April 16, taking the HIT one step closer to new investment opportunities in America’s low-income communities.

The HIT formed Building America to facilitate participation in the federal government’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, designed to stimulate economic growth in low-income communities through the investment of billions of dollars into privately managed investment institutions known as Community Development Entities (CDEs). Building America has filed its application as a CDE with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which administers the NMTC program.

“This is a very important first step,” said Eric W. Price, Chief Executive Officer of Building America and HIT’s Managing Director for Housing and Community Development Investments. “Once Building America is certified as a CDE, we’ll be in a strong position to attract tax-credit funded equity for development projects in which the HIT would invest. It’s a great opportunity.”

Building America has formed an advisory board that is made up of individuals committed to helping low-income communities, with broad experience in advocacy and community development. This board will provide valuable input to Building America in formulating and carrying out its program. The members of the advisory board are:

Nan Roman, Chair – President and CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) Ms. Roman is a leading national voice on the issue of homelessness and its solutions, with over 20 years of local and national experience in the areas of poverty and community-based organizations. Under her leadership, the Alliance has developed a pragmatic plan to end homelessness within ten years. Ms. Roman works closely with members of Congress and the Administration as well as with cities and states, and collaborates with Alliance partners to educate the public about the nature of homelessness and successful solutions.

Naomi Bayer – Senior Vice President, National Initiatives and Innovation, Enterprise Community Partners Ms. Bayer plays a key role in supporting Enterprise’s strategic priorities – enabling environmentally sustainable development, stabilizing communities, and expanding housing opportunities for the most vulnerable. She previously served as Director of Fannie Mae’s New York Community Business Center; Senior Vice President of Housing with the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the State of New York Mortgage Agency; National Housing Conference trustee; and Chair of the Housing First Coalition and the New York City Housing Partnership Development Corporation.

Marcie Cohen – HIT Senior Vice President and Chief Housing Policy Adviser Ms. Cohen has special expertise in affordable housing and community development, having been active in the fields of housing production, economic development, and urban planning for almost 40 years. Her past experience at the HIT includes managing the HIT’s homeownership program as well as heading up the HIT’s offices in New York City and San Francisco. Ms. Cohen has also served in a variety of positions at the local, regional, and headquarters levels of HUD; as Vice Chair of the Housing Authority of the District of Columbia; and as a national board member of Beyond Shelter and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Ms. Cohen is a member of the international housing committee of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

Sheila Crowley – President, National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) As President of the NLIHC, Dr. Crowley heads an organization dedicated to ending the affordable housing crisis in America. She is also a member of the board of directors of the National Housing Trust; Poverty and Race Research Action Council; Enterprise Community Partners; Technical Assistance Collaborative; and the National Housing Conference. Dr. Crowley serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work and for the George Mason University Department of Social Work. Before joining the NLIHC, Dr. Crowley served for over two decades with organizations that focus on housing for seniors, the homeless, people with AIDs and disabilities, and victims of domestic violence.

Michael P. Kelly - General Manager, New York City Housing Authority Michael Kelly has served more than 25 years in significant posts in the public housing arena. He is currently General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where he is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the nation’s largest public housing agency, with over 178,000 residential units spread across the City, and for the administration of the country’s largest residential assistance program, which assists approximately 100,000 additional households. Mr. Kelly has also served as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority; New Orleans Housing Authority; and San Francisco Housing Authority. He is currently President of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities and serves on the boards of the National Organization of African Americans in Housing and the National Housing Conference. As a registered architect, Mr. Kelly previously taught in the architecture schools of Tulane University and Howard University.

Eric W. Price – Chief Executive Officer, Building America, CDE Inc., and Managing Director, Housing and Community Development Investments for the HIT Mr. Price brings to the board a broad background in housing and community development from his work in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. This includes his tenure as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development for the District of Columbia where he was responsible for economic development programs and policies for Washington, DC; Senior Vice President for Neighborhood Markets for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) with oversight of national initiatives designed to help non-profit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods; and Senior Vice President at Abdo Development in Washington, DC. Before rejoining the HIT in February, Mr. Price had earlier served as the HIT’s Chief Investment Officer and Director of Housing Production.

Saul N. Ramirez – Executive Director, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Mr. Ramirez enjoys extensive public and private experience in housing and community development. As Executive Director of NAHRO, he leads an organization of over 20,000 housing and community development agencies and professionals whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of low- and moderate-income Americans by creating safe, affordable housing and viable communities. A former Mayor of Laredo, Texas, he has also served as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and with Greystone and Co., which provides debt and equity financing for multifamily and economic development projects.

Kenneth D. Wade – Chief Executive Officer, NeighborWorks America Mr. Wade has more than 35 years of experience in community development, including 20 years with NeighborWorks America. As that organization’s CEO, he oversees the provision of technical, financial and training support that assists over 3,000 community-based organizations. His organization also supports a national network of more than 240 affordable housing and community development organizations. He previously worked with Boston’s United South End Settlements, where he participated in the development of Boston’s Community Investment Plan. Mr. Wade is an active member on the boards of a variety of organizations including the National Housing Conference; National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders; National Human Services Assembly; National Housing Counseling Association; and the Institute for Affordable Housing Policy at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University.