November 9, 2015

Affordable housing is a growing issue nationwide, as more people flock to cities and put more pressure on local housing markets. In coming years, cities across the country will need to to ramp up construction in order to provide the safe, affordable homes millions of Americans need.

The New York State Association for Affordable Housing is the largest affordable housing group in the country and is playing a leading role in this conversation. Earlier this year, NYSAFAH played an instrumental role in forming a nationwide coalition, the Council of Independent State Housing Associations, which it is now part of. The group gives state housing advocates a platform to fight for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and other policies that can accelerate the construction of new housing. By connecting key stakeholders, the coalition can amplify state voices and strengthen the industry as a whole.

In addition to its advocacy efforts nationwide, NYSAFAH has a long history of promoting affordable housing within New York State. Since it was founded in 1998, the organization, composed of for-profit and non-profit developers, lenders, architects, and investors, has advocated for state policies that encourage new development and keep homes affordable. Over the years, we have worked with lawmakers to create financial tools to spur the production of housing statewide, such as the NYS Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the Homes for Working Families Program.

The organization also provides numerous opportunities for networking and professional education to improve the standards and scale of the affordable housing industry. Every spring, NYSAFAH hosts the largest affordable housing conference in the country, bringing together hundreds of stakeholders in the industry to share best practices and conceive innovative solutions to the most pressing housing questions in New York. We also hold a conference in the fall looking specifically at affordable housing issues in upstate New York, a region whose housing needs often go unacknowledged. Finally, we regularly seek to empower emerging players in the industry, such as Minority and Women-Owned Businesses and graduate students specializing in affordable housing, by providing training, scholarships, and mentoring opportunities throughout the year.

There is no doubt that our country needs more affordable housing, and NYSAFAH will continue to fight for solutions that can create better neighborhoods in New York and other states. We look forward to exploring these issues further at the NY Build Conference in 2016.