About the Regional Affordable & Fair Housing Roundtable and Summit
January 2019 - The Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable is comprised of nearly 30 affordable housing, fair housing, disability rights, community development, for-and nonprofit organizations across the New York region including New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Co-convened by Enterprise Community Partners and the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), the roundtable launched in October 2017 to achieve three primary goals:
- educate affordable and fair housing stakeholders on issues that impact the work of both sectors
- develop a collective policy agenda that identifies shared interests to affordable and fair housing advocates
- create a dynamic working group where both the affordable and fair housing sectors could further discuss issues, with the intent of creating a shared policy platform.
FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg stated that “The roundtable brought organizations together that have divergent views on specific housing policy issues, but after months of intense dialogue, we found that we shared a view that all neighborhoods should be places of opportunity, and our shared values of equity, fairness, and inclusion enabled us to safely air our differences, discuss complex issues, and collaboratively draft a policy agenda that we, as a group, are comfortable bringing forward to a larger group of diverse stakeholders for further consideration.”
Working towards these goals has been a year-long process of deep discussions and immense trust building between both sectors. During the beginning stage of the roundtable, the co-conveners led an education series where both sectors had an opportunity to learn from each other and reflect on our different organizations. Next, we developed a skeleton of our collective regional policy-agenda by identifying shared interests and priorities that we could advance in the future. We further refined this agenda through working groups, research and meaningful conversations.
Enterprise New York’s Director of Policy & External Affairs Lorraine Collins said “It was a pleasure to co-convene this group of amazing professionals with the Fair Housing Justice Center. The experience far exceeded our expectations, as we witnessed leaders from various organizations and sectors come together to find common ground on potential affordable and fair housing policies that will have a tremendous impact on some of our most vulnerable populations. Although our work is far from over, we now have a strong foundation to build upon.”
We’ve made substantial progress, and there is still a significant opportunity to include partners in the discussion. In culmination of this year long process, the Roundtable hosted a one-day summit in November 2018, previewing our collective policy agenda, Closing the Divide: Creating Equitable, Inclusive, and Affordable Communities, which has since been published in January 2019. The summit featured a keynote address by Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the Undesign the Redline exhibit, several panel discussions highlighting the Roundtable’s policy priorities, a networking luncheon, and reception. Fred Frieberg added, “We are living in perilous times when public discourse is too often dominated by rhetoric that only deepens our divisions. We need to create spaces where reasonable people of all perspectives and backgrounds can work together to find constructive solutions that will garner broad support.”