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COMMUNITY TRAILBLAZERS IN HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

This is an archive of all Community Trailblazers content. It provides a historical perspective on the creation of housing and communities.

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 these trailblazers.

Gerald Benoit

The Guru of Housing Vouchers Ep. 51 - Meet Gerald Benoit, referred to as Jerry, one of the icons from the 1970s and a member of the Academy of Housing and Communities. He started out by directing a Section 23 Leased Housing program for the department of HUD where he ...
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DeLois Strum

Making Her Mark as a Black Woman in Community Development Ep. 50 - Meet DeLois Strum, referred to as DeeDee, CEO of M.D. Strum LLC and a 40+ year entrepreneur, a public speaker, an affordable housing advocate, who is currently involved in offshore wind as a renewable source of energy. ...
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Bruno Fulda

The French Global Change Agent Ep. 48 - Bruno Fulda is a Frenchman who is determined to bring real change on a global scale. He believes in regulated capitalism's interface with climate change and why fighting poverty and inequality are some of the most important issues today. He discusses how ...
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John McIlwain

Easing the Housing Squeeze Ep. 3 - John McIlwain is a huge advocator for affordable housing and led his team in sorting out their differences and finding commonality in advocating for the renewal of the Section 8 program. He is also not very optimistic about the future of housing programs ...
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Judith Hermanson

Smart City. Just City. Ep. 47 - Judith Hermanson, President and CEO of IHC Global, brings a Smart City. Just City initiative to increase inclusiveness and equity in cities across the globe. The Smart City. Just City. Initiative will developand advance a policy framework that uses smart city techniques to attain a ...
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Sheldon Schreiberg

Challenges? Not Me! Shel Schreiberg considers himself very lucky for not experiencing any challenges during his career in the affordable housing sector. He is also very modest in all the projects he and his team members contributed to bringing to fruition. He believes in the power of tax credits in ...
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Carol Lamberg

From Ashes to Triumph Ep. 5 - Building housing in New York isn't easy. There's lots of red tape and high housing costs, but none of that detracted Carol Lamberg from pushing through projects that later went on to flourish. Carol Lamberg was the executive director for the Settlement Housing ...
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Bob Moss

Innovate to Fix Housing Woes Ep. 4 - Bob Moss believes that in the next 50 years houses will be built overnight and all because of technology. He has been a witness of how technology has changed in the last 20 years and only imagines the future. He discusses that ...
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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 ...
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John H “Jack” Sullivan

The Good Fight Ep. 45 - Meet John H. ("Jack") Sullivan - if it's part of his passion - watch out!  If he wants something enough, he'll fight for it until he gets it!  He tells about his activism in many arenas - internationally in 65 countries, as head of ...
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Marcia Blum

Omaha's Tireless Giver Ep. 44 - Meet Marcia Blum, a retired social worker and mental health therapist. Listen as she describes pioneering adoption, hospice care, and grief programs. Listen to her gift to listeners as she gives us 4 end-of-life reflections to help a dying person. She continues to work ...
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Stockton Williams

State and National Role in Housing Ep. 43 - Stockton Williams feels there is a devolution of housing to the state and local level. COVID-19's effect is being felt and details the severe housing affordability challenge coming. He feels there will be a rise in delinquency and defaults in the ...
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David Smith

Sure! I Can Do That! Ep. 6 - A visionary, David Smith feels we need to answer "Sure! I can do that!" to create value in the sky. His vision of changes needed for the future to supply affordable housing include transportation, more highrises in urban areas, zoning and infrastructure. ...
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Elisabette Calero

High Priestess of Culture in Puerto Rico Ep. 9 - Elisabette Calero came back to Puerto Rico, after a star-laden history as a dance prodigy in the States, because of her mother's illness. She stayed and during the course of her still-evolving career, spent time dodging gangs' bullets ricocheting against ...
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