Denise Muha


Respect on Capitol Hill

Denise Muha believes that the current conversations about affordable housing should provide a solution to the growing population that is unable to afford to rent decent housing. Denise Muha has been executive director of the National Leased Housing Association for more than three decades, working on national housing policy and advocating for programs on Capitol Hill. Not only is she well-versed in legislative and regulatory issues, she is the perfect administrator of a membership organization. She is a master at working with people and is much admired in the industry. In this episode she outlines the affordable housing policy trends arising in a challenging political environment, and how she educates a new generation of policy advocates entering the field. She strongly believes that there is a need to properly educate people on the importance of affordable housing. Her current priority is to reposition the organization in providing training in an online format to continue to keep the industry up-to-date.

Top Takeaways:

    • The importance of telling the history of housing and development in America- the successes, failures, and lessons learned
    • The general effects of lack of affordable housing and the urgent need for it due to increased rent recently
    • Why there is a need to educate the public on the importance of affordable housing
    • Learning how to pick yourself up after falls caused by life

Listen to one of the top affordable housing experts tell about advocating for change.

"You have to be patient, but most importantly you have to know what you're talking about." -Denise Muha


The Washington, D.C.-based organization advocates for housing providers in both the public and private sectors who specialize in federally assisted rental housing. She is active in housing policy and plays a key role when program decisions are being made in Congress and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Treasury Department. Through NLHA, she has been a key player in the development of landmark housing legislation that addressed the preservation of more than 1.5 million affordable housing units under Section 8 as well as legislation to facilitate the continued preservation of the Low Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act portfolio. As the executive director of the National Leased Housing Association, she provides advocacy, training, and information to providers of federally assisted rental housing.

In addition to NLHA's policy work, one of Muha's greatest accomplishments at the organization was the establishment of a separate nonprofit scholarship program in 2007. The NLHA Education Fund has provided over $1.2 million to residents of federally assisted rental housing since its inception in 2007.  Just this year, it granted 33 scholarships to students from all over the country totaling $92,000.

She has been inducted into the Multifamily Affordable Housing Magazine Hall of Fame.

Outside of work, she serves on the board of directors for The Bollinger Foundation, which raises funds for the education and support of children who have lost one or both of their parents. She and her husband also are avid golfers and enjoy traveling.

Listen in to learn the importance of the academy of housing and development in retelling historical happenings.

Key Moments:

Denise explains why Kent Watkins founded the academy of housing and development to preserve the history behind it [2:28]

She explains her role of informing and advocating on rental assistance programs in the multifamily world [4:08]

Why expanding the knowledge of people on the importance of affordable housing is needed [4:43]

The importance of affordable housing today which has led to its reflection by presidential candidates [6:00]

Why the early challenge in the industry was informing people about affordable housing and how that has changed today [6:56]

The affordable housing finance magazine and how it decided to start a hall of fame to recognize people who have made a difference in the industry [11:46]

Denise describes her career in affordable housing as a passion and an addiction to help people and work with them [13:29]

The joy of knowing and becoming friends with people in the industry for more than half her life [14:35]

Why you need to be educated on what you talk about to hold credibility in your career in the housing sector [15:54]

How Denise is hoping for the continued conversations about affordable housing to yield solutions [18:13]

The impact of educating the public about affordable housing and providing opportunities to people from low-income areas [20:04]

Denise advises on hardworking, teamwork, never giving up, and moving forward [24:11]

Housing Finance Pop Quiz

LinkedIn Denise Muha

NLHA Website

Twitter NLHA

Housing Finance TrailBlazers

Housing Finance Industry Advocate

Housing Finance Hall of Fame

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