Centering Equity in Housing – Convening Review


On March 21, 2021 we had an unprecedented opportunity — amidst a global pandemic and a national reckoning with racial injustice — to join together to discuss the reimagination of our housing system and to prioritize solutions with equity at the core. Specifically,  solutions that recognize and dismantle centuries of exclusionary policies and practices that have created socially and economically segregated neighborhoods, created or prevented wealth building, and made Black and brown populations more vulnerable to crises of all kinds.

The convening brought together affordable housing practitioners, thought leaders, and experts to learn and share ideas on housing policies and innovations that center racial equity. Sessions explored topics like small-scale projects that are advancing housing equity efforts locally, how to build community power through narrative, equity-based policy models, and more.

Introducing the Partnership for the Bay’s Future

Welcome Remarks and Keynote

Join Khanh Russo, Senior Director for the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, and Cindy Wu, Executive Director for LISC Bay Area, for welcoming remarks in the Centering Equity in Housing Convening, followed by a keynote from David Williams, Policy Outreach Director at Opportunity Insights.

David discusses his work at the intersection of equity and policy, including Creating Moves to Opportunity, a national housing mobility initiative. Introduction to the keynote is by Ruby Bolaria-Shifrin, Director of Housing Affordability at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Main Stage Panel

Affordable homes for Black and Brown households continue to languish behind the national average. New economic hardship triggered by the pandemic compounds historic challenges to marginalized communities. In this context, housing stakeholders are working toward equitable housing policies and wealth-building opportunities for all households, especially for low-income households of color.

Hear perspectives from the Partnership for the Bay’s Future Policy Fund and Family of Loan Funds about creating more equitable housing opportunities.

Featured speakers include Aysha Pamukcu, Policy Fund Initiative Officer, Partnership for the Bay’s Future and Asha Rao, Senior Director of Investments for Bay Area LISC. Moderated by Molly Solomon, KQED’s Housing Reporter and Co-host of the Housing podcast, Sold Out: Rethinking Housing in America.

Session A – Big Impact, Small Scale

Session A panel highlights the big wins we can make preserving tenant-occupied rental housing and shines a light on how cities and funders can deepen their support for this high-impact affordable housing solution. It is a conversation between organizations working in different counties to see what we can learn and build on each other’s wins.

Featured panelists include Karoleen Feng, Community Real Estate Director, MEDA, and Aubra Levine, Real Estate Development Director, the Unity Council. Moderated by Aboubacar Ndiaye, Partnership for the Bay’s Future Challenge Grant Fellow.

Session B – Community Power Through Narrative

Session B panel highlights ways we can come together to support housing reform by leveraging the power of narrative and storytelling. Here we discuss strategies to build long-lasting public support for housing.

Featured speakers include Dr. Tiffany Manuel (Dr.T), Founder, President, and CEO of TheCaseMade and RyanNicole Austin, Grammy-nominated MC and Poet and award-winning Artist, Actress, Athlete, and Activist. Moderated by Anna Cash, Partnership for the Bay’s Future Challenge Grant Fellow.

Session C – Advancing Housing Justice Policies

Session C panelists share their experiences in developing cohesive local policies that protect families and individuals burdened by high rents and preserve and produce affordable housing. They discuss how to center marginalized voices for effective, inclusive policy-making that enables Bay Area residents to remain in their communities.

Featured speakers include Ofelia Bello, Executive Director of YUCA in East Palo Alto, and Jennifer Pearce, Housing and Community Development Manager of Alameda County. Moderated by Karen Camacho, Partnership for the Bay’s Future Challenge Grant Fellow.

Closing Remarks

Camille Llanes-Fontanilla, Executive Director SOMOS Mayfair, leads the closing of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future Centering Equity in Housing Convening.

SOMOS Mayfair supports children, organizes families, and connects neighbors to uplift the dreams, power, and leadership of community and address systemic inequities.