Each month, members of the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) chair two meetings on a specific community need. This October, PILP focused on housing discrimination issues and brought in speakers uniquely knowledgeable on the subject. Last week, the group welcomed Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and former undersecretary for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Gornstein first spoke to the group on the work of POAH, describing their focus on providing affordable housing across the U.S. through owning and managing over 9000 homes, as well as various neighborhood transformation projects. POAH acknowledges that affordable housing alone is not the solution, only the foundation, to helping people and families succeed in their community. Through POAH’s various community services at their properties, including job training, childcare services, financial literacy trainings, etc., they hope to provide their tenants the tools to thrive.
Gornstein also explained the history of affordable housing in the U.S. and current trends toward public housing redevelopment and mixed-income housing. Finally, he noted that incentives work far better than penalties to encourage people to save and eventually own their own home.
Look for next week’s PILP meeting recap after the group hears from Professor William Berman from Suffolk University Law School on his insights into affordable housing issues.