Faith Leaders & Real Estate Industry Partners to Address the Washington Region’s Housing Crisis

Enterprise Faith Based Development Initiative to Announce Goal of Developing Over 5,000 Affordable Housing Units in 10 Years

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 5, 2019) – According to recent analysis, the metropolitan Washington region would need 75,000 new housing units over the next 10 years to adequately address its shortage, with 75 percent of the added supply being affordable to low- and middle-income households. Although there have been great strides to address this issue, jurisdictions simply have not been able to keep pace as the population expands. In light of this challenge, an “all hands on deck” approach will marry two different worlds: faith-based organizations and real estate professionals.

On Nov. 7, Enterprise Community Partners, HAND and the Washington National Cathedral will host Enterprise’s Annual Faith-Based Development Initiative (FBDI) Summit, “Houses of Worship in a Changing Community: The Suburbanization of Poverty and Urban Displacement.” With over 100 individuals confirmed to attend, the program will examine the role the faith community can play in the development of affordable housing and community facilities, and set realistic action items that can be implemented after the program. 

Specifically, Enterprise will announce its goal of working with houses of worship to create at least 10 percent of the 56,250 units needed to serve low- and moderate-income households (5,625 new homes).

“The state of affairs when it comes to housing will require us to think creatively about how we reach our regional housing targets. We know that land is the most important component of a real estate transaction, and many houses of worship own these assets with untapped potential. This is fertile ground for what we are all called to do: serve our communities. This marriage between service oriented real estate development and faith-based organizations is one that makes sense, and we intend to build on the FBDI’s thirteen-year track record and continue to do all that we can to nurture the relationship,” said David Bowers, VP and Mid-Atlantic market leader, Enterprise Community Partners.

Hosted at the historic Washington National Cathedral, the program will feature interactive dialogue with national and local faith leaders who are engaged in the challenges that face houses of worship, religious networks, and their local communities. Most importantly, the summit will provide time and space for participants to connect the dots between existing resources within the faith-based community and private and public sectors. 

The Faith-Based Development Initiative brings technical assistance and financial tools to help religious institutions develop their underutilized land into new housing and community facilities or acquire existing housing to ensure long-term affordability. Having launched FBDI in 2006, Enterprise has invested more than $154 million in grants, loans and equity with houses of worship across the region, resulting in the creation and preservation of over 1,300 affordable homes and one community-based health center with another 1,000 homes in the development pipeline. The FBDI has provided training and informational workshops to hundreds of houses of worship and faith-based organizations in the region. Enterprise has expanded FBDI work nationally, with efforts taking place in cities including Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.  

“The depth and breadth of the region’s housing challenges require a collaborative, coordinated effort across every jurisdiction, industry and community. From the early days of our founding, the faith-based community has been at the table with HAND’s membership, and though we operate from different perspectives, we are all vested in elevating the quality of life for our friends and neighbors. Forging these relationships not only create housing and critical services, but ultimately allow individuals to thrive,” said Heather Raspberry, Executive Director of HAND.

As a membership association of 400+ organizations, representing 20+ public and private sectors, HAND has a unique pulse on the region’s real estate and community development industry. Its membership includes a diverse mix of: real estate developers, government agencies, syndicators, lenders, resident and homeless services, accountants, architects, law firms, construction firms, engineers, property managers, insurance, philanthropic partners and others – all stakeholders who are committed to the creation and preservation of affordable housing in our communities. Notably, HAND will bolster regional efforts across each of these sectors with the release of its Housing Indicator Tool (HIT) in February 2020 – a platform that will provide up-to-date information on housing production across the region, holding  private and public sectors accountable for making progress on expanding housing options. 

“Since its commissioning, the Washington National Cathedral has been a cornerstone at the intersection of sacred and civic life. It is an honor to host the FBDI Summit, and welcome stakeholders across the faith and real estate sectors. I have spent years leading faith communities, working in collaboration with nonprofits and other groups, so I can appreciate the value of these partnerships. We look forward to a purposeful dialogue and the impact it will have on our localities,” said The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr., Canon Missioner of the Washington National Cathedral.


Enterprise is a proven and powerful nonprofit that improves communities and people’s lives by making well-designed homes affordable and connected to opportunity. As a social enterprise, we bring together the nationwide know-how, policy leadership, partners, donors and investors to multiply the impact of local affordable housing development. Over more than 35 years, Enterprise has created 585,000 homes, invested more than $43 billion and touched millions of lives. Enterprise’s Faith-Based Development Initiative (FBDI) is an initiative of Enterprise Community Partners.  The FBDI engages and assists the faith-based community as active agents in creating vibrant and economically diverse communities where people of all incomes have access to fit and affordable housing and community facilities.

For over 25 years, HAND has served as the only membership association dedicated to supporting the community development industry in its efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington and Richmond. Through education, engagement and advocacy, HAND builds the capacity of its diverse members who are working toward a collective mission to support the development of communities for people and families at all income levels. HAND was founded on the principle of supporting nonprofit developers and over the course of the organization’s history, the membership has evolved to include: Real estate developers, government agencies, investors, syndicators, lenders, resident services, homeless services, accountants, architecture, law firms, construction, engineers, property managers, insurance, green building, utility companies, foundations, housing counselors, advocates, universities and students. The 400+ members and over 2,000 individuals HAND programs touch each year, are a prime example of public-private partnership, working for the greater good of the communities served.

Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes while seeking to respond to issues of moral and spiritual significance, both in our nation and in the church.

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