[This policy-related post is from Katie Johnson, Policy Associate at CEDAM.]

This Tuesday, I participated in an interesting and innovative event hosted by the Center for Housing Policy on their website, HousingPolicy.org. The first part was a phone interview with housing policy expert Frank Alexander from Emory Law School. Alexander talked about using land banking strategies for foreclosure mitigation. Then, instead of the usual question-and-answer session on the phone, the event moved to the Internet. We listeners – and others – posted questions as comments in an online forum, and Alexander wrote replies in the same place.

Although nontraditional, this method had some real advantages:

  • It brings in more people by allowing them to post questions before or after the live event, not just in a ten-minute window.
  • It gives the expert more time to formulate answers that address all parts of each question.
  • It creates a public, written record of the conversation.
  • It allows the conversation to continue because the forum remains open.

Of course there are some drawbacks to this format too, but overall I think it was successful. If you’re interested in participating in future events, you can see what’s coming up on their home page. You can also listen to recordings of previous interviews on foreclosure mitigation.

As I was keeping an eye on the land banking forum, I started exploring the rest of the site. What a great resource!

  • The Toolbox section, ideal for those new to or outside of the industry, has content on many different aspects of state and local housing policy, from energy efficiency to tax increment financing. Each topic has a basic overview, more detailed explanations, and links to outside resources.
  • The Building a Strategy section has instructions and tips for creating a comprehensive community housing strategy – good for local officials.
  • The Forum lets practitioners (and others) create or participate in written conversations on any and all housing policy topics.
  • Last but not least, the Gallery has photos and information on dozens of successful affordable housing projects around the country.  Admire the handful of Michigan projects featured, and submit your own to show the rest of the country the kind of work we do here.

When you have a few minutes today, visit HousingPolicy.org and look around. I’m confident you’ll find something interesting and useful.

HousingPolicy.org

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