Pop Quiz with Andrea Ponsor| Housing Finance Magazine
Andrea Ponsor is President and CEO of Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a nonprofit collaboration of 13 exemplary multi-state nonprofit affordable housing providers that own nearly 150,000 affordable rental units. .
Prior to joining the organization, the industry veteran served as Director of Federal Policy for the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), where she led housing policy efforts. character.
How did you start working in affordable housing?
My interest started in college at Tulane University. I had the chance to do interdisciplinary work on how the HOPE VI program was used in New Orleans and what it could mean for the housing market and the community. This got me thinking about how the law can be used to create better homes and communities, so I headed to law school and then started my career at the Atlanta regional office of the ministry. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
What was a pivotal moment in your career?
In 2015, I moved from practicing law and working on affordable housing transactions to policy work around affordable housing, first at LISC and then at SAHF. It was a real pivot, and I am truly grateful to have found places where policy work is so closely informed both by what really works on the ground and by the needs of the people intended to be served by policy.
Share with us an interesting fact or statistic about SAHF:
We are data-driven with information on 2,000 properties – financing, energy and water usage, and resident data for over 100,000 households. We are better able to understand and deepen our impact, which is important. SAHF members create approximately 19,000 jobs every year, and from our data collection, we know that the serviced homes they build and manage provide places where people are 50% less likely to be evicted. .
What will you be working on in 2022?
So many things! In addition to working with policymakers, our members and other practitioners around the implementation of the US bailout, infrastructure and hopefully Build Back Better funds, we are launching new work to help our members to develop portfolio decarbonization strategies and goals, continuing to build new partnerships to provide resources to resident service programs through our CORES (Certified Organization for Resident Engagement and Services) program ) and healthcare partnerships, and identify ways to make communities more equitable through work around wealth creation and digital inclusion.
How is SAHF evolving?
SAHF member organizations are growing and striving to do so in an increasingly resident-centred way. Through our joint venture with the Low Income Investment Fund, owned by our affiliate syndicator, the National Affordable Housing Trust, we are examining not only how to support this growth and mission for SAHF members, but how we can use these lessons . learned to support the whole industry and especially small, mission-driven developers.
What real estate trends are you observing?
How healthcare players are making capital investments in housing, opportunities to convert retail and office space into housing, and new strategies to help residents create wealth through home ownership and otherwise.
What policy or program change would you like to see?
We need strong new investments in affordable rental housing, like what is planned in the Build Back Better bill – extending housing credit, project-based housing assistance, section 202, vouchers and funds for initiatives locales – it all works together. We would also really like to see HUD, lenders, and investors come to consistent policies and products that provide services to residents at all properties where they would benefit the community. We know that Resident Services have a significant impact on residents and property operations, but it’s too difficult to consistently find sources to pay for them.
Favorite college course and why?
Southern Literature. I loved the books we read. But, more importantly, this course helped me to truly appreciate the places I grew up in, the good and the bad, and to understand the incredible power of storytelling.
Favorite fictional character and why?
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter). She is smart, hard-working, kind-hearted, witty, and brave. And still makes a lot of mistakes.
What books are on your nightstand?
“Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” by Mary Roach and “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles.
What future for Andrea Ponsor?
Professionally, at SAHF, we have made a new commitment to advancing racial equity, so I look forward to challenging myself and the team on how this is changing and informing our work. Personally, I took part in a relay with friends, so I’m back to running/jogging.