Collaboration and entrepreneurship to help house America
America’s housing problems are daunting. Millions of families pay more than half of their income for a place to live. Rampant foreclosures have destabilized neighborhoods across the country and left millions of households owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. At the same time, federal, state and local resources for housing and community development are shrinking. As a result, organizations committed to affordable housing must be more entrepreneurial than ever.
The Housing Partnership Network improves the lives of millions of individuals, families and communities by sparking innovation and collaboration among 100 of the nation’s affordable housing and community development nonprofits. By incubating innovative joint ventures and creating ongoing opportunities for peer learning and collaboration, the Network helps its members realize significant economies of scale, achieve greater collective impact, and exercise greater influence on public policy. Collectively, the Network and its member organizations employ more than 13,000 people in nearly 200 offices, operating in 75% of the nation’s major metro areas and in every state in the country.
The Housing Partnership Network has a history of spotlighting critical problems and marshaling the expertise and resources needed to launch innovative, scalable solutions. For example, after the 9/11 tragedy, insurance premiums rose dramatically. The Network created a property and casualty insurance company that controlled costs for its members and now provides more than $7 billion of insurance covering 57,000 units of affordable rental housing.
In 2008, when many were just beginning to perceive the depth and breadth of the foreclosure crisis, the Network, in partnership with five other national nonprofit housing and civil rights organizations, created the National Community Stabilization Trust. The Trust enables communities and nonprofits to acquire foreclosed homes rapidly and at below-market prices directly from the nation’s largest mortgage servicing companies.
The Network’s new approaches have helped keep people in their homes, mitigate the worst effects of foreclosures, and energized affordable housing groups at a challenging time.
The Housing Partnership Network will use its $1.5 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to create a new research and development fund that will support and accelerate innovation and reduce the cost of launching new ventures. Funds will also enable the Network to relocate its offices to accommodate a growing staff.