On April 26th, NPH & ELPN co-hosted a free panel and group discussion session called Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the Affordable Housing Industry.
Building off ideas and discussions from the diversity and inclusion workshop at NPH’s 2016 conference, staff, board, members, and supporters were eager to continue the dialogue and further develop opportunities to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry. More than 50 attendees from many different organizations and spanning a variety of job positions in our sector were in attendance.
After a recap about the origins and goals of the original conference workshop from panelists, who included NPH Board members Andy Madeira and Matt Huerta, attendees split into six breakout groups to discuss actions NPH could take to support increasing diversity and inclusion in our sector.
Robust conversation spurred passion and generated concrete ideas for exploration, including: developing an NPH working group that could take action steps to respond to the themes that were raised at the event; hiring a consultant to conduct an industry analysis of the affordable housing sector; working on culture change with NPH member organizations from the top down and bottom up; developing best practices on recruitment, hiring and retention; and developing relationships at colleges/universities and launching the internship program, among others.
The discussion demonstrated a clear commitment from those in attendance, as well as a sense of urgency to continue making space for all voices. Several African American women expressed how important it is for their voices to be heard, and many emphasized that creating safe spaces for these types of discussions is important especially in supporting non-senior staff to motivate change in their organizations.
NPH is eager to continue the dialogue as well as pursue funding opportunities to support the initiatives that emerge out of these discussions.
Most immediately, a new online discussion forum has been created on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, pose new questions and ideas, and share important findings. You can find and join that group here: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Affordable Housing Industry.
And to indicate your interest in participating in the NPH Working Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to the Irvine Foundation for use of their beautiful space and to the Silicon Valley Bank for their generous sponsorship of the event.
NPH’s organizational priorities include a commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity in our community and throughout our programs, including as we grow and advance leadership opportunity throughout the affordable housing industry.