COMMUNITY TRAILBLAZERS IN HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

The Oral History of Housing and Communities

In the Community TrailBlazers Podcast, we are featuring Fellows of the American Academy of Housing and Communities who have had a major impact on world affairs, federal policy, and the development of community culture through courageous action to bring about change. Most have lived through many Presidents, many generations, and many changes. We capture their thoughts on the last 50 years of public policy and discuss what the future may hold.

Kent Watkins founded this honorary society, consisting of the top national and international thought leaders and implementers in the field of urbanism. These include heads of federal agencies and their senior staffs, as well as urbanist leaders in social welfare, health, education, culinary arts, art and poetry, transportation, climate and others who have made an impact on the culture of the areas we live in.  All are considered peers and have achieved success in some unique way. Referred to as the Academy Series, Nan McKay spotlights one of these trailblazers each week.

Lyn Burton Portrait

Lyn Burton

Facilitating Leadership for the Affordable Housing Industry Ep. 38 - Lyn Burton, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Connections, is changing the mindset of affordable housing and providing an educational opportunity by facilitating leadership for the affordable housing industry for young people interested in making a difference. Top Takeaways: Educating on ...
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Marshall Kaplan

A First-Hand Account of the History of HUD Ep. 8 - Marshall Kaplan has stamped his mark on community development under Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter. And he has some definite opinions on HUD! Top Takeaways: Factors that have blurred HUD’s history since its inception Why federal programs rarely worked ...
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Tom Bozzuto

Doing Housing Right Ep. 10 - Tom Bozzuto has dedicated his career to creating sanctuary. As a man of both reflection and action, his business model on doing housing right has been governed by civic responsibility and the belief that true success comes to those who do things the right ...
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Kent Colton

The Ivory Prize and Innovations in Affordable Housing Ep. 16 - Kent W. Colton is a sought-after voice in housing policy. As president of the Colton Housing Group and senior research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, he has a sweeping knowledge of the long effort to ensure ...
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Stanley Newman

Federal History of Segregation, Redlining and Civil Rights Ep. 37 - Stanley Newman recounts hearing Martin Luther King speak in Montgomery, Alabam, the civil rights act of 1964 and 1965, the redlining going on at FHA, and the segregation of public housing. He was director of HUD UDAG program and ...
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Joe Ventrone

Time for Radical Change Ep. 13 - Joseph M. Ventrone, the Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS® Federal Policy and Industry Relations Team, feels that it is a time for radical change and believes that HUD and federal housing policy need a realignment. After over 40 years of ...
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Ann Schnare

Freddie Mac, Credit Ratings and Segregation Ep. 11 - Dr. Ann B. Schnare, the President of AB Schnare Associates LLC, a consulting firm specializing in housing and mortgage finance, says, "Discrimination, segregation, income inequality, and automation are among the serious structural challenges that today’s leaders must tackle." Top Takeaways: The ...
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Kent Watkins and Nan McKay

A Historical Perspective on Housing and Communities Ep. 1 - Kent Watkins and Nan McKay bring the oral history of housing, culture and communities to life! They reflect on their decades of work in the affordable housing industry and analyze the many challenges on the horizon. Top Takeaways: Learn about ...
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Helen Dunlap

Mark-to-Market and REAC: HUD Innovations Ep. 36 - When Helen Dunlap started at HUD she quickly discovered that 25% of  HUD's multifamily portfolio was at risk for foreclosure. She was involved early-on in the innovations including mark-to-market and REAC, to save the program. Top Takeaways: The major problem of policymakers ...
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Joe Schiff

Banish the Blinders Ep. 14 - Joe Schiff, President of The Schiff Group which specializes in consulting with housing authorities on their problems and opportunities urges agencies to ‘take off the blinders’ and realize that excessive bureaucracy, duplication, and paperwork stifle efforts to help more people get housing. Top Takeaways: ...
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Conrad Egan

Millennials! Power Up at the Local Level! Ep. 17 - Conrad Egan, directly involved in affordable housing for many years,  says, "The future of housing must change." Conrad urges millennials to take power with local governments and push back against resistance to new approaches and an outdated affinity for the ...
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Emil Frankel

Transportation Links to Urbanism Ep. 15 - Emil H. Frankel weaves the history of rail and auto transit, and their influence on where cities sprung up and the downstream effects on how and where people lived. They were not always positive, as some housing projects warehoused families with little to ...
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William Gilmartin

Bridging A Partisan Divide Ep. 12 - Bill Gilmartin recounts the leaders who worked across the aisle to strengthen HUD and make every effort to help families with affordable housing. Over time, he has seen housing drop off the Congressional radar, lost in a dark cloud of partisanship that only ...
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Rod Solomon

Creating Laws for Affordable Housing Ep. 35 - Rod Solomon emphasizes that both tragedies-the pandemic and the shocking events so starkly highlighting racial injustice-are cause for redoubling our efforts on many fronts, including achieving basic adequacy of housing-related assistance. Top Takeaways: How the Congress may be persuaded to make the ...
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