Seattle Housing Authority
Announces New Executive Director
The Board of Commissioners of the Seattle Housing Authority has named Rod Brandon as Executive Director, to replace Andrew Lofton who will retire on May 7 after 17 years with SHA.
Brandon has served as SHA’s Director of Housing Operations since 2010, leading the agency’s largest department with approximately 400 staff serving more than 17,000 residents in approximately 8,500 housing units. He has extensive career experience in creating innovative policies and programs, building critical partnerships, managing large projects, operations and budgets, and developing diverse workforces.

Prior to joining SHA, Brandon served in leadership positions in the public sector including Director of Sustainability and Environmental Services for King County Executive Ron Sims, Assistant King County Executive and Deputy Chief of Staff for City of Seattle Mayor Norm Rice.

“We consulted widely with our staff and community, including our tenants, on the experience and characteristics they would like to see in a new executive director and conducted a thorough, open and considered national search,” said SHA Board Chair Paul Purcell. “While we saw some excellent candidates from around the country, we selected Rod not because he is already a senior leader with SHA but because he is clearly the right person to take the agency forward.”

Brandon is deeply committed to the mission and values of SHA. “It has been tremendously rewarding to me over the past 10 years to get to know our residents and help build a suite of services to ensure they have safe, decent housing and opportunities through education, employment, health care, social activities, youth development and other programs,” he said. “The need for affordable housing and services is far from met in Seattle and I’m excited to build on our progress and valuable partnerships as we pursue a vision to expand housing opportunities, promote quality communities and improve more lives.”
New commissioner appointed to Seattle Housing Authority Board
A new Seattle Housing Authority commissioner has been appointed by Mayor Jenny Durkan and approved by the Seattle City Council. The seven-member Board of Commissioners includes five at-large positions and two SHA resident positions. The newly appointed commissioner, Rita Howard, will serve in one of the two resident positions. Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms.
The Board authorizes certain SHA policies and activities and approves the agency’s annual budget. Commissioners are also responsible for selecting and supervising the executive director.

Rita Howard has a long history of acting upon her care and concern about community well-being. As a retired, senior resident of SHA for nearly 10 years, she has been an advocate for seniors and the most vulnerable among us. In addition to her commissioner position Rita volunteers at a local food bank, serves on the board of the MLK Community Center, is an active member of a Seattle church that provides leadership in the Black community and is a volunteer leader in the community garden in her neighborhood. Rita is organized, detail-oriented and an innovative thinker who brings these qualities to her work on the SHA Board of Commissioners.

Rita joins current board members Paul Purcell (chair), Dr. Paula Houston (vice-chair), Deborah Canavan Thiele, Robert Crutchfield, Twyla Minor and Gerald Smiley.
Sheffield Housing Authority undergoing renovations
Improvements to Sheffield Housing authority are well underway.
The front office renovation at Manning Homes will serve as a prototype of what the other homes will look like once the renovation is complete.
Sheffield Housing Authority Executive Director Shirley Whitten said just within the first year, 10 homes here at Manning Homes will be renovated, along with homes at Long Lowe, which is another housing complex.
She said that Sheffield housing authority was chosen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in a new program called “Moving to Work.”
According to HUD, “Moving to Work” is a program for public housing authorities that not only improves homes, but helps residents find jobs and become more self-sufficient.
The renovations are possible because they were selected for federal program.
She also said it makes it less expensive.
“It allows us more flexibility in financing because we can combine all of our funds to make things happen more quickly and it saves money for this because, by not paying out developer fees, etc., it’s more bricks and mortar that we can buy. So, we are very excited about this opportunity,” said Whitten.
Along with renovations to these homes, the Sheffield City Council approved to close one of the entrances of this complex. Whitten said this will decrease crime in this area by having only one way in and one way out.
Welcome to the Virtual Annual Conference! 
While this event will be onscreen and in your own home or office, it still comes packed with so many of the delights you’re used to experiencing each year. Utilizing the finest in virtual technology, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into our virtual world. 

This will be the easiest, greenest, most inexpensive and all-inclusive convention package you’ll ever experience, and there is no time to waste!  Our unique situation allows us to break through barriers and offer you what we’ve given in the past in a drastically different way, with a lot of big benefits to you. Make sure you’re a part of this historic event for only $99, Learn More!
Meet the Candidates @ the Virtual Conference!
Join us for the “Meet the Candidate” to hear from NAHRO Presidential and Sr. Vice Presidential Candidates!

May 3, 2021,
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. PST
Remembering LaVon Holden
It is with great sadness but immense gratitude to announce the passing of Lavon Holden. She was employed by the Vancouver Housing Authority between 1985 and 2011. She served as deputy director during the last few years of her employment with VHA.  During her career at VHA she was responsible for Governmental Relations, Labor Negotiations, Collective Bargaining and Human Resources. Lavon was tenacious in her efforts to advocate for low-income households albeit locally, statewide, and nationally. She accepted a Special Duty Assignment to assist Washington Governor Gary Locke’s Administration during his first term in 1997 and established statewide program improvements for rural and farmworker housing, former Governor Locke’s top housing priority. Lavon also had a significant influence on the shaping of VHA and the programs that are still offered today. Lavon was honored by the National Association of Housing Redevelopment Officials with the Friends of Affordable Housing Award in 2010 due to her tireless legislative work. We honor her as a national housing champion with a distinct moral compass and a force to reckon with. LaVon Holden will be greatly missed and we offer heartfelt condolences to her family and many colleagues.  
Oregon Lawmakers Approve Bill to Turn Hotels & Motels into Housing, Shelters
Oregon state lawmakers approved a measure on Wednesday that embodies the times we are living in: The bill would ease the ability to convert hotels and motels — pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic — into long-term affordable housing for people who lost their homes in the wildfires or who are otherwise unhoused.
The measure now heads to the Senate. Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, who sponsored House Bill 3261, and represents a region where 2,500 homes were wiped out in Oregon’s 2020 wildfire season, said the ability to quickly turn some hotels into emergency shelters has been “a godsend.”

“This allows us to repurpose hotels and motels that have housed tourists to house the most vulnerable,” Marsh said on the House floor.
The bill would pave the way for converting motels or hotels into emergency shelters or long-term affordable housing even if current zoning laws would prohibit doing so. The building must, however, be within the city’s urban growth boundary. The mere fact that legislation passed also marks an increasingly rare moment in the House where partisan gridlock has slowed all legislative progress to a crawl and made it increasingly challenging to debate policies.

There are other similar housing efforts underway in the state, including what has been dubbed Project Turnkey, where the state carved out $65 million to buy and convert motels into temporary shelters. House Speaker Tina Kotek also has a bill, House Bill 2006, that would allow local governments to waive design, planning and zoning regulations to approve the siting of emergency shelters.
House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby, said Marsh’s legislation highlights a larger problem the state is facing: unworkable land-use laws.
“This takes our land-use system and acknowledges that it’s broken,” Drazan said, voting against the measure, and instead calling for an overhaul of the state’s land-use laws. Shortly after the bill passed, legislators were back to relying on computer software to read legislation word by word. For weeks, Republicans have been requiring all bills be read in full before a final vote.

Republican Leader Drazan has called on Democrats to open the Capitol to the public, to kill deeply controversial legislation, move only bills with bipartisan support and give more consideration to Republicans’ input.
On Wednesday, Kotek offered her own proposal to Drazan. In a letter, Kotek asked Drazan to allow lawmakers to consider budget bills without them being fully read out loud.

The constitution states bills must be read in full before passage. But in previous years, both parties agreed to skip bill reading. It takes two-thirds of members to waive the rule. Republicans have started increasingly voting against waiving the rules, relying on the tactic to slow the overall agenda and maintain leverage over majority Democrats.

“I don’t think anyone should be playing politics with the budget rebalance package,” Kotek wrote Drazan on Wednesday. Some of the budget bills under consideration would include $250 million for a summer learning and child care package, also funding for homeless shelters and wildfire recovery. It’s unclear if Drazan or her office responded to the letter. They did not return requests seeking comment from OPB. Shortly after the hotel conversion bill passed off the floor, the computer software kicked back up and finished reading a 170-page bill.
Trump gutted Obama-era housing discrimination rules.
Biden’s bringing them back.
Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge moved this week to reinstate fair housing regulations that had been gutted under President Donald Trump, in one of the most tangible steps that the Biden administration has taken thus far to address systemic racism.
The effort comes less than three months after President Biden signed executive orders aimed at increasing racial equity across the nation, including directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine and reverse actions taken by the Trump administration that undermined fair housing principles.
The Biden administration plans to reinstate a 2013 rule that codified a decades-old legal standard known as “disparate impact” as well as a 2015 rule requiring communities to identify and dismantle barriers to racial integration or risk losing federal funds, according to notices posted Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget signaling the rules have been accepted for review.
The two rules are integral to the enforcement of decades-old fair-housing law barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability that has far-reaching impact, say civil rights attorneys. Housing is central to the Biden’s administration efforts to address racial inequity, which includes boosting Black homeownership and increasing rental housing in neighborhoods with more educational and economic opportunities, because where one lives is closely tied to schooling, employment, health and wealth. Read More.....
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What is Virtual Classroom?
Multi-day training delivered in a modular and a web-based format. Participants register individually and access the sessions with a direct email. Sessions are typically 3 hours (1:30-4:30pm ET) and spread out. This allows participants to balance learning with other work responsibilities. Attendance is recorded and upon successful completion, CEUs are applied towards certification requirements. Distance learnings are meant to be interactive. Participants will engage with the faculty member by discussions, polls and utilizing a chat feature.

Available Virtual Classrooms:

April 26 – May 4: PHOEIR
May 12-14: Succession Planning
May 17-25: HCVOEIR
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For more information, contact NAHRO Professional Development at
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NIMBYism and the Language of Affordable Housing
Federal officials recently extended the national eviction moratorium through June, allowing more time for a temporary safeguard that lets millions of Americans have a safe, quality housing option.

While these protections obviously can't last forever, the lessons from COVID-19 have made clear that people can't shelter in place without shelter – a home that is reliable. Yet even as it's been highlighted by a health and economic crisis that's swarmed U.S. communities, the need for affordable housing options is not new.
Across the U.S., the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports a shortage of 6.8 million rental homes for extremely low-income renters alone, not even accounting for those with slightly higher incomes.

According to the coalition's 2020 "Out of Reach" report, there was not one state or county where a full-time worker making minimum wage could afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy loses some $2 trillion a year in lower wages and productivity due to the shortage of affordable housing.

Yes, campaign promises, local and national coalitions – such as the Florida Housing Coalition and the Chicago Housing Initiative – and even some innovative financial efforts, like a $1 billion joint venture to build, protect and preserve 10,000 affordable homes, can try to bring forth solutions. Read More.....