Week before last, over 200 individuals came together to inspire each other with their efforts and dedication to bringing sustainability to low-income and underserved communities. They joined us from across the country, and even some from other parts of the world, to learn about the way that the community leaders in Philadelphia deliver equitable access to healthy homes and neighborhoods, and how high-impact projects can solve complex urban environmental problems that put low-income communities first.
They were encouraged to share their own experiences, both challenges and triumphs, with each other during facilitated lunchtime discussions. Not just attendees, these are practitioners who are changing the face of our neighborhoods and communities, some through their work at non-profit organizations and public agencies.
Given how essential their perspectives are to this conversation, we were thrilled to have been able to provide scholarships to 100 individuals through the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This opportunity to discuss and learn about increasing access to healthy, efficient homes for all means so much to the work that they do, and they lives that they impact. We asked two of these scholarship recipients to tell us about what this opportunity meant to them. Denise Everson, with the District of Columbia Housing Authority, explained:
“In a time of dwindling support and increased expectations for federal, state, and local government employees, it is essential that all resources be maximized. As my agency’s only LEED AP, I am excited to attend Greenbuild and even more thrilled that the USGBC afforded me this great opportunity through a scholarship award. Without the scholarship, I would have been unable to attend and therefor unable to gain valuable insight into affordable housing trends. As a steward of affordable housing opportunities in the Nation’s Capital, I am always eager to take advantage of educational opportunities and to contribute to the national discussion offering the view of a public servant.”
Duane Ingram, who works with the Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation, said:
“Attending the Affordable Housing Summit is vital to my growth and involvement in MFCDC’s LEED-ND projects within our roughly 21 block focus area. Although I am relatively new to Mapleton Fall Creek Dev. Corp., I am not new to housing. I have been in the non-profit housing industry nearly seven years and I have been around green building practices, but never had the opportunity to be hands-on. In my role as Chief Operating Officer, I am responsible for leading all housing initiatives for the agency. With this new leadership role, I hope to gain in-depth knowledge on green building practices so that I can make well-informed decisions regarding future housing development.”