Brown Bag: Building Strong Relationships with Cities to Promote Affordable Housing

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March 2, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

$20 – 40
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More often than not, interpersonal relationships make the difference between affordable housing proposals sailing through the entitlement process or dying a painful death of delay. For this panel, affordable housing experts from a range of industries will discuss strategies housing activists can use to build and leverage their relationships with city staff and elected officials to promote affordable housing. This panel would orient housing activists toward productive, collaborative involvement with local policymaking processes.

Panelists will discuss how attendees can identify “swing votes” and “housing champions” on city councils and then effectively build constructive relationships with those electeds to support affordable housing. Panelists come from a range of industries that work closely with cities and their leaders, including affordable housing developers, planning consultants, and pro-housing elected officials.

When: Thursday, March 2 | 12pm – 2:00pm PT

Where: Zoom Webinar

Moderator:  Jeremy Levine, Policy Manager for the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County


  • Vu-Bang Nguyen, Founder of NHA Strategy
  • Nevada Merriman, Director of Policy at MidPen Housing
  • Rick Bonilla, Former Mayor, City of San Mateo

Register Today!

Deadline: Tuesday, February 28 at 5pm PT

If cost is an issue, please email NPH Events and Fund Development Associate No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

This event will be hosted virtually. Do you need an ASL Interpreter or Closed Captioning? Please reach out to at least two weeks before the training, if you need further assistance.

Cancellation/Refund Deadline: Monday, February 27 at 5pm PT
Registrants canceling their registration on or before Monday, February 27 at 5pm PT will receive a full refund. NPH may consider refunds for extenuating circumstances. Refund requests submitted after the deadline are not guaranteed and will be reviewed on an individual basis. To submit a refund request, please email

Learn more about the speakers below!

Vu-Bang Nguyen, Founder of NHA Strategy

Vu-Bang Nguyen is a housing strategist with over 20 years of experience in city planning, public policy and housing in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He supports partnerships between public, private and nonprofit organizations, with a special emphasis on design technology and philanthropy’s role in addressing housing affordability.

He was previously a program officer for Silicon Valley Community Foundation, leading the housing and transportation grantmaking strategy and an associate director of land use and housing at Urban Habitat. Vu-Bang has worked for the City of Berkeley’s Department of Planning, the Town of Los Gatos Planning Division and for a real estate development company working on infill residential development projects in Fremont, San José and Los Gatos. Vu-Bang holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where he created a community engagement handbook for the San José Redevelopment Agency to increase Vietnamese American participation in local government decisions. Vu-Bang serves on the boards of Sacred Heart Community Services, Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Urban Habitat.

Nevada Merriman, Director of Policy at MidPen Housing

Nevada Merriman currently serves as MidPen Housing’s Director of Policy. Over the last 14 years, she has held many positions in the Real Estate Development team, including project manager, and most recently was the Director of Housing Development for the Peninsula and Silicon Valley. She has contributed to the development of over 3,000 homes in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and has a passion for building acceptance for including our unhoused community members in every new housing opportunity. She looks for ways to partner and support great organizations, including working with LifeMoves on the restructuring and recapitalization of two homeless shelters, and also working closely with nearly every affordable housing advocacy organization in the Bay Area. Ms. Merriman is currently an Advisory Board Member of the County’s Home for All effort. She also is on the technical committee for All Home. In her free time, she serves as a Housing Commissioner for the City of Menlo Park.

Rick Bonilla, Former Mayor, City of San Mateo

Rick Bonilla has been a housing advocate for over twenty years. His career has spanned everything from building homes and multi family residences as a carpenter to being elected and approving hard fought multi family 100% affordable housing projects. Now, after serving as a city council member in San Mateo for eight years, Rick is ready to help others fight the good fight and get more affordable housing built.

Jeremy Levine, Policy Manager for the Housing Leadership Council (Moderator)

Jeremy brings a decade of political advocacy experience to HLC. Over the last year, he has reviewed every housing element released in San Mateo County, partnering with city staff and council members to implement more equitable housing policies. Jeremy entered the affordable housing space in 2020 when he founded a nonprofit in his hometown of Lafayette, CA dedicated to promoting affordable housing development. He has spent the past three years advocating for affordable housing in exclusionary communities across the Bay Area.


March 2, 2023
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
$20 – $40
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