NHSDC Spring Conference Schedule

Spring Conference and Institute Schedule
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Spring Conference Schedule!

The 2015 NHSDC Spring Conference Planning Committee is excited to release our final conference agenda and brochure, which is now available on our website.   Please note that HUD has approved the NHSDC conference as an eligible HMIS activity for those who have funds in the Training and Technical Assistance line of their HMIS budget. Check our website for more details.

Based on requests from past conference attendees, NHSDC will not provide printed session materials.  They will be available beginning April 13th on the NHSDC website.  Attendance at NHSDC Events gives you access to "website members only" content on our website. Use your Username and Password to log in, view, and download the materials. If you have forgotten your password, please recover it here: Password Recovery.  If this is your first NHSDC conference, you will receive your new account information on April 13th.

If you haven't already, be sure to register for the conference.

FY 2015 CoC Program Documents Available for CoC Review

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

FY 2015 CoC Program Documents Available for CoC Review

In an effort to make the FY 2015 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Registration process as smooth as possible for CoC designated Collaborative Applicants, HUD has posted the documents listed below to the FY 2015 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition: Funding Availability page on the HUD Exchange. These documents can be found under the Forms and Supporting Documents section. CoCs and the designated Collaborative Applicants are encouraged to review the documents and take any action needed at the local level.
  • FY 2015 Geo Codes and Preliminary Pro Rata Need Amounts - This document contains the updated list of all geographic areas that are in effect for the FY 2015 CoC Program Competition, along with their six-digit geographic code (geo code) and the Preliminary Pro Rata Need (PPRN) amount for Metropolitan Cities, Urban Counties, and all counties in the United States.
  • FY 2015 Geo Codes Claimed and Un-claimed - This allows CoCs and Collaborative Applicants to review and ensure all appropriate geographic codes are claimed within each CoC’s defined geographic area. CoCs and Collaborative Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the information contained in this file to ensure all geographic codes within the CoC-defined geographic area are captured. This is particularly important for those CoCs that have merged.
  • FY 2015 Continuums of Care Names and Numbers - This lists all of the CoCs, with their numbers and names, that registered in the FY 2013 and FY 2014 CoC Program Registration processes. This list should accurately reflect all of the known CoC mergers that have occurred since the FY 2013 CoC Program Registration process. As a reminder, since HUD issued a 2-year NOFA, the FY 2013 – FY 2014 CoC Program NOFA, there were no mergers allowed or recognized by HUD for the FY 2014 CoC Program Registration process. Additionally, some of the names of CoCs have changed, some with slight changes, to accurately capture the City(s) and/or County(s) with a CoC. For example, if your CoC name in the last registration process just reflected the name of a major city, but also encompassed smaller surrounding cities, those surrounding cities were incorporated into the CoC Name.
  • FY 2015 CoC Merger Financial Worksheet - This worksheet is designed to help communities understand the Final Pro-Rata Need that will be used to determine a merged CoC's CoC planning costs and Unified Funding Agency (UFA) costs (if the Collaborative Applicant is designated as a UFA). For those CoCs that have merged, HUD encourages these CoCs to review and complete this worksheet in preparation for the FY 2015 CoC Program Registration process.
HUD will issue a listserv message when the FY 2015 CoC Program Registration process is available.

Interview: MacArthur Fellow John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

Thursday April 9, 2015                                                                                                                                                Shelterforce Weekly Supplement

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Your Voice!

Shelterforce Exclusive Interview
John Henneberger
Texas Low Income Housing Information Service
2014 MacArthur Fellow

It's not every year (or even every decade) that community developers and housers see themselves represented in the ranks of the coveted MacArthur Fellows (or "genius grant" recipients). That in and of itself would be sufficiently exciting, but when Shelterforce staff sat down to talk to John Henneberger of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, one of the 2014 MacArthur geniuses, we certainly found ourselves impressed and excited. Driven by a sense of justice since college, he has been on the frontlines of the fight for equality and equity since those years. Henneberger has extensive knowledge of the field, an ability to clearly relate many of our most basic concerns to each other, and a clear-eyed focus on end goals above interim measures. In this two part interview, he talks about expansive definitions of "fair housing," exciting organizing work in Texas that the rest of the country should keep an eye on, the role of a state-level advocacy organization, and much more.

Keli Tianga: How deep are your Texas roots?

John Henneberger: My grandfather and my father were both from here, but [my] father joined the military in World War II, and I was actually born in Alaska on an Air Force base and lived in 13 different places by the time I was 11 years old-Alabama, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, California. 

Keli Tianga: How and why did you get your volunteering, then professional, start in the community development and affordable housing fields? 

John Henneberger: I actually started to become interested in the broader issues of justice and anti-poverty work in high school, because at that time, I was living in Dallas, and we were going through a pseudo-school desegregation process.

I became involved in [a] committee searching for answers about how to make racial integration work. Schools had to overcome the unfairness of the one-way busing solution that the Dallas Independent School District was enforcing on kids, extremely low-income African-American kids being bused into an upper-middle-class white high school.

I found working on that with the students who were being bused in and my colleagues from my neighborhood to be really interesting and engaging, and [that] got me interested in wanting to explore issues of racial justice. I came to the University of Texas in 1973, and [met] a young University of Chicago-educated historian in urban history who specialized in the relationship between the Irish community and the African-American community in Chicago. He became my mentor, and helped me arrange one of the more unusual courses of undergraduate study I've ever heard any student manage to get into.

I got a bunch of independent studies credit working in a neighborhood center in an African-American community here in Austin with the purpose of gathering oral history interviews. This Freedmen's Town was an isolated, smaller African-American community located in the heart of the wealthiest part. At the time, in the mid- '70s, it had no sewage [service], it had dirt streets, and it was a nine square block area surrounded by white mansions. It had a very rural atmosphere.

I began to ask questions about the [differences] between public services in that community versus the rest of the surrounding neighborhoods. I had always assumed that everybody would be treated equally by their government, at least that was my experience in watching the way life works on military installations, and I was really appalled by what I felt was blatant residual racism toward African-Americans by the local government.

I worked [as a] research assistant, in essence, to the elected board of residents from the neighborhood as we fought the state's attempt to eliminate the community by building expressways through the neighborhood-literally two expressways-[and] to try to get the streets paved, to get sewage [service] brought into the neighborhood, to get drainage.

Keli Tianga: It sounds unusual for such a young person to be passionate and interested in issues of racial justice, especially in a state like Texas. Do you attribute that to your military background?

John Henneberger: I think that when I was going to school, a whole lot were concerned about issues of racial and social justice. I thought that what I was doing was important, but I didn't consider it to be that unique. I saw other people in Texas engaged in this type of work.

I got a unique opportunity, because my mentor at the university created an academic environment that let me, as an undergraduate, actually learn in the community more than in the university. I could go back and forth between those two worlds, and I found that more than anything shaped my experience: that ability to not just immerse myself in the university, but to feel primarily grounded in a political struggle, then to come back to the university and get the historical and political context. It was almost a vocational education, in kind of a funny way.

Miriam Axel-Lute: How did that translate into moving into the affordable housing field professionally?

John Henneberger: Very organically. [The] first year that I think community development block grants hit the street, we were in Clarksville to get sewer, paved streets, and affordable housing. I remember going down to the city planning department and having a discussion with the deputy director of the planning department. I said, "What's this money for?" He said, "Beats us. We haven't got it figured out yet." And so, we figured out that we were eligible, put in one of the first requests, got CDBG money to do the drainage, the streets, and then a follow-up grant to do, I think, some of the first housing built by a CDC in Texas.

Miriam Axel-Lute: How have you seen [the field] change and what has kept you in this same field for so long?

John Henneberger: I think my experience in this world of community development and housing has come full circle. I started off looking at it from the perspective of community, a neighborhood, looking beyond housing to include issues of public infrastructure, the political relationship between the community and the local government and the surrounding majority white community, and the like. I really looked at it very heavily from a lens of race, because that was obviously the central factor that caused Clarksville to be created and maintained as a separate and unequal neighborhood.

Clarksville's community development corporation took up housing primarily as an anti-gentrification tool in the mid to late 1970s and into the '80s, and we built a lot of houses. Austin grew explosively in that period, and because of its isolation and small size within a wealthier white community, [Clarksville] soon found itself under severe gentrification pressures. And we-the community organizations, the community action program, the neighbors-all came together and worked a very conscious anti-gentrification program where we fought developers with yard signs, with church events, early morning in front of the developers' homes. We did all the standard organizing type of stuff.

Slowly, over the course of perhaps 20 years, Clarksville became smaller and smaller, and the African-American population became smaller and smaller. The area became wealthier, and people were mostly forced out except for a handful of homeowners and the folks who lived in the homes that were owned by the community development corporation in Clarksville. We ended up pursuing a very heavy housing agenda for a number of years.

Karen Paup, who joined us in the Clarksville community development corporation, helped us spin off five or six community development corporations here in Austin, and we were all about building housing, trying to get appropriate income targeting, making sure the poor weren't excluded, to get the emphasis on zero to 30 percent of MFI (median family income), and using housing as an anti-gentrification tool.

For years that's what we did, and then folks from the neighborhoods took over the operation of the CDCs, and it became less important for Karen and me to do that work, so, we decided to form the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service in '88, with the idea that there needed to be an advocacy voice for community development and for housing affordable for the poor in Texas, particularly at the state level and in front of local governments. By this time, there were a lot of other CDCs springing up around the state, and we thought we ought to try to remind people in government just how important this work is and try to get them to focus resources on the CDCs.

But, along the way, I think we got distracted from the fundamental issue that's here, which is this issue of racial justice that really underlies the problem that we've got.

We got called down to the lower Rio Grande valley, the border with Mexico, about 15 years, maybe longer than that, ago, to work in the colonias with the question of why we had these hugely impoverished rural ex-urban subdivisions, informally plotted, that people were living in with no water, no paved streets, no sewer, and horrible housing conditions. That woke us up again to the fact that there's something bigger than just housing at play. We worked on issues of water and land tenure and flooding and housing in the colonies.

And then, after that, along comes a bunch of hurricanes. We got hit by Hurricane Rita, paused a year, and then got hit with Hurricane Dolly in the Rio Grande Valley, and Hurricane Ike in Galveston and Houston, and it devastated African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods. The need was-in terms of rebuilding-not just housing. Housing was critically important, but there were a lot of other issues about how to prevent flooding from recurring, and other things like that.

So, we negotiated a conciliation agreement with the state under a fair housing complaint early in the Obama administration, with HUD's assistance and the active cooperation of some people within the state of Texas who felt the state was messing up. And from that, our emphasis has come full circle. We're really focused on issues of gentrification, on issues of housing opportunity and fair housing, on issues of siting of public housing, as well all these other issues that we've historically been concerned with.

Keli Tianga: Have you seen any kind of improvement in the colonias? Is it getting worse? Are there more?

John Henneberger: Yes, yes, and yes. There has been progress made. We've got water to most of [the] colonias now. There are some really amazing housing initiatives, [but] they are a drop in the bucket in terms of the need. And the number of extremely poor families who need housing is huge. And [they] continue to grow, [though] not at the rate [they did] in the '80s when we really had the huge growth spurt.

We've succeeded in getting the state to do some things. Contract for deed financing in the colonias was highly exploiting, and we got that beaten down pretty well, although there are interests that come back every legislative session into the Texas Capitol who try to undo the various consumer protections to protect people from abusive sales practices and the like.

The thing about being an advocate in Texas is that it's a growth industry. You've got always more stuff than you can deal with. The demographics of this state, the legacy and ongoing racism that exists, the exploitation of the poor by-I guess I could generously call them entrepreneurial strategies-about land sales and development practices and the like makes it an interesting place for progressive advocacy.

Read part one of the interview here.

Opportunity Finance Network, Philadelphia, PA 

The essential functions of the position are to design methods to collect primary data from CDFIs, including financial performance, portfolio activity and performance, and community outcomes. Clean survey data, conduct data analyses, develop and undertake issue-focused research based on OFN's primary data as well as other data, and disseminate findings to broad audiences. 

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