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  • 1. Workforce HousingForum GuideFor State & Local REALTOR® Associations A Strategy for Outreach and Advocacy to Identify and Address Workforce Housing Needs in Your Community
  • 2. EditorLora McCrayManager, Housing Opportunitylmccray@realtors.orgThe Workforce Housing Forum Guide is a project of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Housing Opportunity Program.© National Association of REALTORS ®, 2012
  • 3. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsTable of ContentsIntroduction 5 1 Workforce Housing: What’s the Big Deal? 6 2 Challenges & Solutions 8 3 Role of REALTORS® 11Workforce Housing Forum: A Strategyfor Outreach and Advocacy 13Getting Started 17 1 Goals 19 2 Funding & Budget 21 3 Partners 23 4 Planning Committee 24 5 Sponsors & Exhibitors 26 6 Target Audience 28 7 Timeline & Workplan 29Planning the Forum 31 1 Setting a Date 32 2 Identifying a Theme 33 3 Finding a Location 34 4 Creating the Agenda 36 5 Speakers 38 6 Pre-registration 42 7 Marketing the Forum 43 8 Media Outreach 46Conducting the Forum 47 1 Set-up & Check-in 48 2 Managing the Day 51 3 Troubleshooting 52
  • 4. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsTable of ContentsAfter the Forum 53 1 Evaluation 54 2 Post Event Wrap-up 56Next Steps 57 1 What Your Association Can Do 58 2 What Your Partners Can Do 60
  • 5. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations IntroductionWorking a full-time job does not guarantee a family a decent, affordable place to live.The term “workforce housing” has been defined many ways, but generally it is understood to meanhousing intended to bridge the gap facing those gainfully employed residents that may earn toomuch to qualify for affordable housing subsidies, but not enough to afford a home for purchase orrent, within their community. Workforce housing can be targeted to “ hen it comes to development — W low, moderate, or even relatively high income housing, transportation, energy households depending on the community efficiency — these things aren’t needs. For example, in very high cost areas a mutually exclusive; they go hand workforce housing program might be designed in hand. And that means making to serve households earning up to 120% of the sure that affordable housing exists area median income, in order to assist those in close proximity to jobs and families that, although employed, still cannot transportation. That means afford safe, decent housing in the community. encouraging shorter travel times and lower travel costs. It means safer, greener, more livable communities.” —  RESIDENT BARACK OBAMA P July 13, 2009N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 5
  • 6. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 Workforce Housing: What’s the Big Deal?The availability of workforce housing, years, in many communities homeownership iswhich has long been a critical issue in this country, still well out of reach for much of the workforce;has become increasingly important in recent years. and an “affordable” rental is often unattainable.In many communities, the people that provide vital Typical development patterns within regions haveservices to the community — teachers, firefighters, reinforced the “spatial mismatch” between jobs andpolice officers, and restaurant workers — often workforce housing. Exclusionary zoning and landcannot themselves afford to live there. use policies often prohibit the construction of new With the downturn in the economy, many workforce housing in communities near suburbanareas of the country have seen their cost of living employment centers; and the bulk of lower-costincrease while wages remain virtually unchanged housing tends to be located in distressed, urbanor have declined. According to the 2011 State neighborhoods — that lack good schools, localof the Nation’s Housing report as of 2009, over retail and services, and other essentials for health,one-third of US households were housing cost productivity, and upward mobility — or at theburdened, spending more than 30% of their furthest edges of metropolitan regions. Theseincomes on housing; and a record 17.1% of trends leave low- and moderate-income workersAmericans were identified as severely housing (teachers, firefighters, retail salespeople, healthcarecost burdened, spending over half their incomes workers, etc.) facing a tradeoff between payingon housing. The report also notes that while a greater share of their income for housing orlowest-income households are most likely to have enduring long, complicated, and expensive dailysevere housing cost burdens, the problem has commutes to distant job sites. These things notmoved up the income scale with more moderate- only hurt the environment, but they also translateincome Americans spending larger portions of into increased commuting costs and a reducedtheir income on housing. quality of life for those unable to live near where The combination of a restricted credit market they work.and a near stand-still in the building of new, low- Shortages of workforce housing can alsoincome housing has made it particularly difficult hurt local employers’ ability to attract and keepfor those earning at or below the median income workers. And when these workers leave theof their communities to find housing. Specifically, community they take their spending revenue, taxit is increasingly difficult for workers to secure a dollars, and contributions to the community withhome that is moderately priced, located near work them. Creating housing for the workforce playsand transportation, and in a desirable community a major role in addressing the overall shortage ofsetting. Even with declining home values of recent affordable housing.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 6
  • 7. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Increasingly, communities across the country n  conomic stability — in some markets the Eare recognizing the importance of affordable mismatch between available jobs and affordablehousing, particularly workforce housing, to housing has resulted in employers moving out oftheir economic and social wellbeing. A lack of urban areas and into expanding suburbs, takingworkforce housing can affect a community’s: their tax and revenue dollars with them. Some cities have seen the jobs eventually follow the workersn  ransportation systems — when workers T n  orker productivity — studies indicate that W commute longer distances to work it causes as commute times rise, worker engagement, increased strain on existing transportation systems productivity and overall satisfaction declinen  raffic congestion and commute time — when T n  nowledge and talent retention for employers — K workers must commute greater distances between employers have found that the lack of affordable home and work it results in greater traffic housing close to work effects their ability to recruit congestion and longer commute times and retain workersn  nvironmental conditions — longer commutes E by workers mean higher levels of pollution and carbon emissionsN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 7
  • 8. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 Challenges & SolutionsCommunities across the country face a n  ack of Consumer Knowledge About Lbroad array of challenges as they strive to provide Housing Options and Resources: Insufficient housing that is affordable to working some communities, consumers lack access tofamilies. Below are some of the key challenges information about housing options and theimpacting workforce housing and solutions to resources available to assist them in obtainingaddress them. All of these issues may not apply to affordable housing. Or in other cases, theyour community, but they will give you ideas for information is broadly dispersed in so manytopics to consider for your forum. different places that it is difficult for consumers to find the information they need.Key Challenges n  onsumers Challenged by Income and/or Cn  ffordability: In some communities the cost A Credit Issues: In today’s economy, consumers of housing is so expensive it is not affordable to often find it difficult to qualify for a mortgage a large part of the community’s workforce. This because of past credit issues, or because of their is particularly true in resort communities like income level. NAR’s 2011 Housing Pulse Survey the Rocky Mountain ski areas or the Southern found that 82% of consumers stated that having California coastal communities. enough money for a downpayment was their greatest barrier to buying a home.n  ccessibility: Rising housing prices in the late A ’90s and early 2000s forced many consumers to move away from employment centers to areas Solutions where they could afford housing — Drive until n  reate dedicated funding sources C you can buy. The result was a mismatch between for affordable housing development. jobs and housing, with workers commuting long Communities can consider creating a dedicated distances to reach their jobs. Even with falling funding source to support the development of home prices of the past few years, the disconnect affordable housing, such as a housing trust fund.1 between jobs and homes still exist. For example, in Florida, under the Sadowski Affordable Housing Act, a portion of the state’sn  estrictive Zoning and Land Use Policies: R documentary stamp tax is dedicated to affordable In some areas, zoning regulations and land use and workforce housing. The funds are distributed policies can make it difficult for developers to to housing agencies throughout the state.2 build affordably. Regulations on multi-family development and density sometimes limit development.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 8
  • 9. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  everage financing programs that support L n  rovide financial assistance to buyers. P the development of affordable housing. In communities all over the country, local Government programs like the Low Income governments, nonprofits, REALTOR® Housing Tax Credit 3 and the Historic associations and others offer downpayment Rehabilitation Tax Credit 4 can be used to fund assistance and closing cost programs to buyers. the development and preservation of affordable The Oregon Association of REALTORS® is rental housing. Also, local governments can partnering with the Oregon Bankers Association donate surplus land or tax lien or foreclosure to provide $2500 in downpayment assistance and properties to create or rehabilitate permanent banking services to buyers purchasing a home affordable housing.5 through the HOME Sweet Home program. And the Colorado Association of REALTORS®n  eview zoning regulations and land use R Housing Opportunity Foundation is providing policies. Local governments can provide funding to support downpayment assistance priority levels of review and inspection for programs throughout the state.9 affordable housing projects. Cities can consider zoning more multi-family development. Or n  rovide homebuyer, homeownership, and P cities can consider offering density bonuses6 financial education for consumers. A major to incentivize developers. For example, lesson learned from the foreclosure crisis was Massachusetts’ regulation 40b is the state’s that homebuyer education and counseling is affordable housing law, which requires that critical to ensuring that buyers not only get a at least 25% of homes must be affordable to home, but are able to keep their home. There people earning less than 80% of area median are approximately 2700 nonprofit organizations income. The regulation has resulted in the in the US today providing homebuyer education production of over 40,000 multi-family and counseling to consumers. Many of these housing units across the state.7 groups also provide financial education and foreclosure intervention counseling. Consumersn  ngage the private sector to create affordable E can locate a HUD approved counseling agency rental or homeownership options. Employers on the HUD website.10 can provide employer-assisted housing programs to assist employees in obtaining affordable rental n  reate simple ways that consumers can C and homeownership. In San Diego, the San Diego find the information they need. A number Association of REALTORS® partners with the of REALTOR® Associations have worked with City to offer the Everyday Heroes program which partners to create easy-access one-stop-shop buys down the interest rate to lower the cost of a websites where consumers can find information mortgage for qualified San Diego police officers. about housing options, financial resources, and And in Virginia, the Fredericksburg Association trained professionals, including REALTORS®, who of REALTORS® is partnering with their county can assist them in finding affordable housing. The school system to provide rental assistance to new Washington REALTORS®, Kansas Association teachers moving into the County.8 of REALTORS®, and the Alaska Association of REALTORS® are excellent examples.11N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 9
  • 10. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  ring stakeholders to the table. B 4 Federal tax credit that encourages the REALTOR® associations frequently hold preservation and reuse of the nation’s built housing fairs and consumer outreach events environment by offering federal tax credits to provide consumers with the opportunity to the owners of historic properties. to speak directly with Counselors, Lenders, 5 HUD, REALTORS® and others who can assist them. In addition, associations often host housing 6 Allowing developers that commit to allotting a forums and summits to bring together key certain portion of units at below market rates to stakeholders in the community to examine reduce lot sizes or increase the number of houses critical issues affecting the community. on a lot, thereby lowering the land cost per unit. This guide focuses on how to plan and 7 conduct these types of forums. Also visit on_2.htm NAR’s workforce housing forums page 8; to learn more.12 Educators_Grant_Guidelines.pdfnotes and links 9 Tackling Workforce Housing State by State:1 A fund that receives and distributes dedicated The Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Final sources of public funds toward development, Report, pg. 31, rehabilitation, or preservation of affordable tackling-workforce-housing-state-by-state-final- housing. report2 10  HUD, http://www.hud.gov3 Federal tax credit program that provides 11; funding for acquisition, rehabilitation, or new; construction of rental properties by providing tax credits, which are sold to raise capital for 12 the project, reducing the amount of debt to be housing-forums borrowed. Because the debt is lower, a tax credit property can offer lower, more affordable rents.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 10
  • 11. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations3 Role of REALTORS®The National Association of REALTORS® your members have the influence needed to(NAR) is committed to addressing the affordable advocate for needed changes in local, state, andhousing needs of working families. To that federal housing policies to support these solutions.end, NAR conducted the Ira Gribin Workforce REALTORS® are particularly well positionedHousing Grants program, a two-year, $5 million to improve housing opportunities in theirgrant program to facilitate the development of communities. Usually REALTORS® are the firstworkforce housing programs across the country, points of contact for prospective homebuyers andresulting in the creation of 52 workforce housing renters, so REALTORS® have direct knowledgeprograms across the US. of the challenges they face. Your members witness As part of our commitment to address the the frustration and disappointment that workingworkforce housing challenges facing communities families face in dealing with issues of affordabilityacross the country, NAR is encouraging state and access to financing as they struggle to achieveand local REALTOR® associations to make a their dream of homeownership. In addition, ascommitment to advance workforce housing members of the business community, REALTORS®opportunities in their communities. Over the past understand how the lack of affordable housing —four years, NAR has worked in partnership with homeownership and rental — can negatively impactstate and local associations, the National Housing the growth and sustainability of the community.Conference, and other national and local partners An important role that REALTOR®to conduct a series of regional workforce housing associations can play in addressing these issues isforums — the Bring Workers Home series — to to bring together key players in the community toraise awareness about the growing need for more raise awareness about how the lack of affordableaffordable housing opportunities for working housing opportunities is affecting the community,families; to bring REALTORS® together with and to explore successful strategies and solutionsothers working to advance workforce housing; and you can use to address the issues in yourto highlight successful strategies and solutions. community. As a logical next step, NAR has developed this Holding a workforce housing forum is anguide to assist REALTOR® associations in planning excellent way to do this. A forum can help you:and conducting workforce housing forums. As a REALTOR® association, you are uniquely n  dentify the specific housing challenges your Ipositioned to work well with a broad range of community is facingpartners in your community to develop workforce n  dentify key stakeholders in the community Ihousing strategies and solutions. With over 1,400 who are ready and willing to work with youlocal and state boards and associations, you andN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 11
  • 12. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  ngage your local government officials and E LINKS policymakers 1n  aise consumer awareness and inform them R 2 about important tools and resources nations_housing 3 opportunity-programresourcesPaycheck to Paycheck — an online, interactivedatabase on housing affordability developed by theCenter for Housing Policy 12011 State of the Nation’s Housing — Annualreport on the state of housing in the US issued bythe Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies 2Housing Opportunity Program, NationalAssociation of REALTORS® 3N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 12
  • 13. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Workforce Housing Forum: A Strategy for Outreach and AdvocacyA forum is a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of publicinterest. Because forums generally include speakers to explain or discuss key topics, and thenengage attendees in open discussion, a forum provides an excellent format through which toexplore a community’s workforce housing options. If your community, like many others, is struggling with identifying ways to boost youreconomy, provide housing that’s affordable to your workforce, to attract and retain businesses,then conducting a workforce housing forum could be the first step in getting a handle on theseissues and developing a plan. This approach of bringing interested parties together to discuss issues and explore nextsteps and possible action items is a great tool for communities to use to identify the housingchallenges facing working families in a community, understand the resources and tools availableto families, and learn about strategies and models that can be used to address those challenges. Two key objectives for most workforce housing forums are to raise awareness about thehousing needs of the community’s workforce and engage stakeholders in an effort to addressthose needs. A workforce housing forum is usually no longer than a day in length. A forum may focuson a broad range of topics, such as the lack of locally affordable housing, foreclosure prevention,neighborhood revitalization, employer-assisted housing, or the needs of the homeless orpotentially homeless. You might also use a workforce housing forum to address financingoptions, local and federal assistance programs, and private sector options like matching fundsprograms. The forum can be open to the general public or closed to all but an invited group,depending on what it is you want to accomplish. A workforce housing forum allows you to present various view points, discuss options andpotential solutions, and identify a plan or action items for moving forward. It may also serve asN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 13
  • 14. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsplatform for the release of important research findings and proposed solutions to address issuesrevealed by the research. A workforce housing forum is an excellent strategy for outreach and advocacy. There aremany reasons why you might hold a workforce housing forum. Holding a forum providesyou a way to: n Identify and examine key issues in your market. You can include speakers at the  Forum who can talk about the challenges in your area’s housing market and the impact they have on buyers and renters seeking affordable housing opportunities. And you can focus the forum agenda on issues that are important to your community. If lack of property to build affordable housing is the challenge in your community, you can use the forum to engage people in discussions about density, land use, and planning, and how to address these issues while keeping housing affordable to your workforce. n Share information and create a common network. A forum provides a perfect  mechanism to bring together representatives from different groups — REALTORS®, consumers, housing advocates, local government, builders, etc. — who are affected by the housing issues in the community so they can share information and begin to build relationships to work together. n Call people to action. By holding a forum with a targeted audience, you can bring  together key decision makers and stakeholders to enlist their support and participation in a specific program/initiative or engage them to develop a strategy or plan of action. n Launch a new program/initiative/website. You can use your forum to announce a  new initiative or website to make people aware of the new resource. n Disseminate important information. You can also use a forum to release an important  study or research findings. For example, at NAR’s 2003 Affordable Housing Summit, NAR released the findings of its first Housing Pulse Survey.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 14
  • 15. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations The goals you set for your forum will affect your decisions about what kind of event tohold, what your agenda should include, who to invite, etc. However, there are many elementsof organizing an event that will be similar in each case. This Guide will outline those commonelements and help you identify key things you need to address to have a successful workforcehousing event in your community. This Guide is a service of NAR’s My REALTOR® Party 1 initiative, which provides stateand local REALTOR® associations with a personalized gateway to custom build their ownadvocacy and community outreach programs and activities. Many local and state associations have begun holding workforce housing forums.Some examples are outlined below:Bring Worker’s Home Workforce Housing Forum Series (2009 – 2011)From 2009 through 2011, NAR, in partnership with state and local REALTOR® associationsand the National Housing Conference, an NAR strategic partner, conducted a series of regionalworkforce housing forums across the country. The forums were designed to: raise awarenessabout workforce housing issues in the various regions; bring REALTORS® together with otherkey stakeholders; and highlight successful strategies and solutions for addressing workforcehousing issues. Learn more here.2Massachusetts Housing Symposium (2011)On October 17, 2011, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and MassHousing co-hosted a symposium titled the “Future of Affordable Homeownership in Massachusetts.” Theevent focused on the key issues affecting home ownership in Massachusetts and the impact onreal estate sales, construction activity, employment and jobs, as well as possible socio-economicand demographic trends. The day included four general sessions that were titled: “Homeownership in our Cities,” “The Economic Impact of Home ownership Affordability,” “Homeownership as a National and State Political Priority,” and “Home ownership Finance Reform.”N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 15
  • 16. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsPanelists and speakers included economists, state and local elected officials, REALTORS®and other high-level housing professionals. View videos of the symposium here. 3Missoula, MT Housing Summit (2010)In 2010, the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® organized the Missoula Housing Summit:A Search for Solutions to help determine what their community could do to order to provideworkforce housing in the future as well as lay the groundwork for that next step. The Summitwas held in partnership with Mayor John Engen and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.Learn more here.4Central Indiana Housing Summit (2009)In 2009, the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® conducted its eighthannual housing summit focusing on three key themes (mass transit, green technology andsustainability, and government consolidation). The summit sought to bring “communitystakeholders and industry opinion leaders together for an engaging look at the hottest issuesfacing our housing market.” Architects, local government officials, and some 500 REALTORS®attended the four-hour long summit. Learn more here.5links1 http://www.myrealtorparty.org2 Symposium videos are titled “The Future of Home Ownership.” Each has an opening slide and intro before the video starts.4 d50d5697cffa056e2f0c26647dc78d665 http://www.housingsummit.comN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 16
  • 17. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Getting StartedA simple way to approach your planning process is to follow the 5 Ws — Who, What,When, Where and Why.WhoWho will be involved in the event? Who will be your partners, sponsors, and organizers? Whois the audience you are trying to reach through this forum? How many people do you expectto attend the event? The intended audience and expected participants will be important to yourprospective partners and sponsors and will factor into their decision on whether or not to workwith you on the event. You’ll also need to consider this information in deciding on a venue andin determining your marketing efforts.WhatSpecifically “What” kind of event do you plan to have and what are you going to do at thisevent? In answering this question you’ll need to think about the type of event, the theme, theprogram, the budget, the speakers, the location, the target audience, sponsors, and marketingand communications.WhenYou’ll need to select a day and time for when the event will be held. Try to select a date that willhelp you maximize attendance — one that does not conflict with major community events anddoes not occur too close in time with similar forums or conferences.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 17
  • 18. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations WhereYou’ll need to select a location for the event. In choosing a venue you should think about thesize of the audience, convenience of the location, services available through the venue, etc. WhyWhy do you want to hold this event; what is it you hope to accomplish with this event? It couldbe as basic as increasing the knowledge of public officials on housing issues, which could helpestablish a foundation for future lobbying. Or it might be raising the awareness of consumersabout available resources and services to better meet their housing needs. All of these factors will help you develop the goals and objectives for your forum. It is veryimportant that you set clear goals and objectives at the start of your planning process. This willgive you the direction in which you should proceed to accomplish your objectives. Organizingan event without clear objectives is a waste of both time and resources.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 18
  • 19. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 GoalsIn setting your goals, there are some Be clear on what you expect to accomplish.preliminary questions you need to answer. Your Since broad-based goals are difficult to evaluate,answers to these questions may change as you talk set specific, measurable goals and determine at theto other organizations or as you work through beginning of your planning how you will measurespecific details. the success of those goals. Consider the following questions as you For example, NAR’s regional workforceidentify and set your goals: housing forum series — Bring Workers Home — had four main goals:n  hat is the most important thing you want W to accomplish with this forum? 1.  aise awareness about the importance of R affordable housing options for working familiesn  ow will you measure your success? H and outline the workforce housing challengesn  ho can help, and how much time can W in the region; each person commit? Be realistic about the 2.  ighlight best practices to addressing H commitment each person is able to make so that these challenges through case studies and the rest of the planning can go smoothly. program models;n  ho can you collaborate within the W 3. Provide strategies on ways that REALTORS®,  community? You probably do not have all housing organizations, lenders, public officials the knowledge and resources to do everything and others can partner to advance workforce yourself and that is why partnerships are housing solutions; essential. There are already organizations in the community who care about these issues and 4.  rovide a venue for key stakeholders — P would want to be involved in this kind of event. REALTORS®, housing organizations, lenders, policymakers, state and local government andn  hat type of budget and resources do W other stakeholders — to connect and explore you have? You will need to know this before opportunities to work together to address the you can secure a location, print handouts, plan workforce housing needs in their community. refreshments, etc. You may decide to supplement your budget through support from sponsors or fees from exhibitors.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 19
  • 20. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations We measured the success of these goals byattendee responses on forum evaluations, and Mid-Columbia Workforce Housing Summit– 2007by monitoring post-event activities reported In 2007, over 200 participants from seven countiesby attendees. in Oregon held a workforce housing summit. The Tips on Setting Goals are included in the summit included four workgroups: How can weTools and Resources. improve access and affordability; What can the In setting your goals, you need to think about Public sector do; What can employers do; Whatwhat are your expected outcomes for the forum, can be done to improve financial resource fori.e., what specific things would you like to see affordable housing finance?happen as a result of the forum. Begin the process by determining what youwant forum participants to achieve by the endof the event. You will want to: The intended outcomes from the Summit were to:n  ake the intended outcomes tangible and M n  reate an awareness and consistency of C achievable. Focus on what participants will be understanding among attendees about the able to do with their increased understanding, increasing inability of the region to provide knowledge or appreciation by the end of affordable workforce housing the event. n  rovide case studies from a panel of major Pn  ink the intended outcomes to being present L regional employers that demonstrated the and participating at the forum. This can be done impact to a community when there is a lack quite explicitly, by phrasing them along the lines, of workforce housing “After participating in this forum, and taking n  xpose attendees to examples of programs and E part in the discussions, brainstorming sessions, strategies from other areas that have been proven and workshop tasks, you should be better able effective in improving the affordability and to: — put into practice… — develop workable availability of workforce housing tactics to… — work towards achieving…” n  xpose attendees to available tools and resources En  est your ideas of intended outcomes with T from State and Federal agencies representatives of your target audience. For example, ask them to jot down their thoughts n  llow attendees to discuss, prioritize and refine A in answer to “What three things would you a collection of workforce housing strategies as particularly like the forum to do for you?” and a result of extensive research by the planning see what the most common threads turn out to group and to gather additional ideas from the be. Also talk with community leaders and local summit workgroups experts to get their take on what issues would be most valuable to explore at the forum. The report from the summit, which includes descriptions of a collection of strategies to address workforce housing issues, is included in the Tools and Resources.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 20
  • 21. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 Funding & BudgetYou will need to create a budget so you Variable costs are those which vary accordingcan estimate costs, track expenditures, and raise to the number of participants who attend, e.g.,sufficient funding to cover the expenses of holding catering costs.a forum. Your budget should also reflect any expected Your budget will impact most of the decisions income. Income may come from different sourcesthat you make in planning your forum. The and can also be categorized as fixed and variable.resources you have budgeted for the forum will Fixed income is income that is not dependentinfluence your choices regarding the venue, catering, on the number of attendees, such as funds fromlength of the event, program, promotional materials, sponsorships or contributions from organizations.and number of speakers you can invite, etc. Variable income is income that is not fixed. It may vary according to the number of people registering for the conference or the number ofSetting Budgets exhibitors reserving booths.Although your budget should be set at the start of A sample forum budget is included in thethe project, budgeted items may cost more or less Tools and Resources.than originally expected and being able to track If the forum is income-generating, it isyour expenditures in a computerized spreadsheet important to know what the break-even point —like Microsoft Excel will be beneficial to you. the point at which the forum will make enough As you develop your budget, include two types income to cover fixed costs — is for the forum soof costs — fixed costs and variable costs. you have a quantifiable goal to work towards. Fixed costs are those costs that will be As you begin your budget planning, considerencountered regardless of the number of forum doing the following:participants. For example: n  ocument your assumptions. How much of Dn  onference material design and printing C the cost will your association bear, and how muchn  peaker fees S will your partners contribute in regards to donated staff time and/or items? If you are assuming,n  eeting room rates M for example, that there will be no charge for then  dvertising A venue or that someone will make an in-kind contribution of food and drink, make sure you confirm that with them and note the contribution separately and explicitly in your budget.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 21
  • 22. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  lways overestimate expenses; it is better to end A with a surplus rather than a deficit. Include an amount (possibly 10% of your total budget) as a contingency fund to cover either overlooked or unexpected expenses.n  on’t overlook taxes, permitting fees, and other D similar add-ons that will increase your costs.n  eep all receipts and invoices and review all K revenue/expenses thoroughly with the planning committee upon completion of the project (in other words, be transparent about all financial information).n  actor any expected income from sponsorships, F exhibitor fees, or registration fees into your budget plan.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 22
  • 23. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations3 PartnersAs a first step, try to identify a group of In addition, we included a broader circle ofpartners who will help you plan the forum. Not partners to assist with outreach and marketingonly is it a lot of work to do alone, but more the forums, some of these partners included: thebrainpower and more contacts will help make local REALTOR® association; state REALTOR®the forum even better. Invite individuals who associations; the Metropolitan Planning Council;have the interest and the resources to contribute the International Economic Development Council;meaningfully to your forum. NeighborWorks® America; the National Council Partnering with businesses, local government of State Housing Agencies; and the Federaland community organizations that are interested Reserve your issue will enhance the success of your Some partners to consider for your workforceforum. Partners can lend you help and support in housing forum might include:getting sponsors, materials, media coverage, andattendance at the forum. n  ocal government officials (and local L You will want to highlight what the benefits government staff)will be for organizations that partner with you. n  ommunity Civic Organizations and CWill it bring them publicity or financial benefit? Housing nonprofitsWill it open up new avenues of business? Will itbring them new important business contacts and n  ousing counseling organizations and Hnetworking opportunities? downpayment assistance providers The first step is to make a list of potential n  enders Lindividuals and organizations you could partnerwith for the forum. n  ousing finance agencies H In identifying partners you want to think about n  uilders and developers Bwho the key stakeholders are that would have amutual interest in the goals you’ve identified for n  usinesses and employers Bthe forum. Different partners will bring differentaudiences and connections. For example, for each of NAR’s regionalworkforce housing forums, we partnered withthe National Housing Conference to plan andorganize the forums. We divided the workbetween our organizations.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 23
  • 24. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations4 Planning CommitteePutting together an effective planning There are many different ways to divide thecommittee will be the single most important responsibilities and tasks of planning an event.action to ensure your forum is a success. Basically, Keep in mind that one person may take on severala planning committee should consist of about roles, or one task may require a number of people8 to 10 people from the group of partners you to complete it depending on the time commitmenthave gathered to help organize the forum. each person is able to make. Everyone should When recruiting planning committee members, have a requirement and be clear on what theirbe clear about what the project will require of assignment is and when it must be completed. Thethem, even after the forum is over. Committee important thing is that all of these responsibilitiesmembers’ attendance and involvement will be are covered and there is one point personcritical in organizing a successful forum. overseeing the entire project. In general, you’ll want your planning The Planning Committee’s maincommittee to begin meeting about four to six responsibilities will be to:months before your forum. The committee shouldmaintain regular communication throughout the n  esign a program to meet the forum goals Dplanning process. You can choose what works best n  evelop a timeline for planning the forum Dfor this group. Planning a forum can be chaotic if your planning n  evelop the agenda Dteam does not have good communication. Sharing n  dentify and recruit speakers Iinformation about the progress of the planningprocess and keeping everyone up to date is critical n  et a date that does not conflict with other major Sto putting together a successful forum. or similar events Decide early on how your team will communicate n  ecide on the desired size of the event (how Dwith each other and keep your team leader updated many people do you want to attract)on all progress so he/she can be on the lookout for anyconfusion or conflicting plans. Will you hold regular n  ecure an appropriate venue and arranging for Sin-person meetings; conference calls; e-mails; or use catering and logisticsweb-based tools like DropBox or Google Group, or n  dentify audience/participants, media contacts, Isome combination of these? and potential sponsors and funding sourcesN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 24
  • 25. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  ssue invitations I n  rovide assistance and participation in running P the event to guarantee a successful forum.n  esign promotional materials (save the date D postcard, brochure, etc.) Remember “electronic” n  ay all obligated bills and expenses. P means of communication (e-mail, Facebook, n  rite follow-up thank you notes to appropriate W Twitter, etc.) can be effective and cost saving. participants/speakers.n  ecure decision makers to attend S n  istribute any appropriate follow-up notes/ Dn  eep track of registration and follow up K comments/decisions/synopsis from the forum as necessary to those in attendancen  ork with the speakers to ensure effective W contentN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 25
  • 26. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations5 Sponsors & ExhibitorsSponsors You will need to develop an outreach messageOne way to offset the cost of holding your and a sponsorship information package that youforum is to solicit financial support from sponsors. can circulate to your list of potential sponsors.The benefit for the sponsors is that they get The sponsors’ materials should:an opportunity to communicate directly withpotential customers, to raise their company profile, n  tate the purpose and goals of the forum Sand distribute information about their products n  dentify the target audience and expected Iand services. The benefit for you is that they will attendancebe paying for this privilege, which will provideyou with some additional funding to cover the n  tate the benefits to sponsors Sexpenses of your forum. n  utline what benefits a sponsor will receive O You can offer a sole sponsorship of the forum for varying levels of supportto one company, or if you would like to get moresupport, you can break down the various elements n  ndicate the deadline to sign up to become Iof the forum and solicit sponsors for each element. a sponsorFor example, you could have a sponsor for your n  escribe the process to become a sponsor Dplenary session, a separate sponsor for the forumluncheon, a separate sponsor for coffee breaks, n  rovide a point of contact for any questions Pand so on. Generally you would offer a sponsor a variety Once you have reached an initial agreementof benefits in exchange for varying levels of with the sponsor regarding their level of support,financial support for the forum. For example, a send a written sponsorship agreement that clearlycompany that signs on to sponsor your keynote states what is included in the package, confirmingluncheon might be provided with the opportunity the level of support, and informing them of theto give introductory remarks at the luncheon, date that the invoice will be sent and the terms ofspeaking opportunities on panels, recognition on payment. This ensures that details are clear fromall program materials, signage, as well as verbal the start so there is no room for misinterpretation.recognition at the event. Sample sponsor materials are included in the Tools and Resources.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 26
  • 27. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsExhibitors One way to make exhibiting at the forumAnother way to raise revenue to offset the cost more appealing to exhibitors is to hold someof the event is to include exhibit space. You can forum activity, like coffee breaks or a networkingprovide exhibitors with a space in which they can reception, in the exhibit space. This will ensuremeet and talk with participants and display and that attendees will spend some time in thedistribute information about their company. exhibit area viewing the booths and mingling For a workforce housing forum, you will want with the have exhibitors who are involved in various Once you have signed exhibitors up, you willaspects of providing affordable housing. Some need to provide them with detailed guidelinesexamples include housing nonprofits, housing about exhibiting at the forum. They will need tocounseling organizations, REALTORS®, lenders, know the dates and times for exhibit set-up andbuilders and developers, information and data breakdown, what will be provided in their space,providers, etc. exhibit space dimensions, the hours the exhibit As with sponsors, you will need to space will be open, etc.develop Exhibitor materials. The Exhibitor Sample Exhibitor materials are included inmaterials should: the Tools and Resources.n  tate the forum’s purpose and goals Sn  dentify the target audience and expected I attendancen  escribe the benefits to the exhibitors Dn  utline the options available for exhibiting O and what the costs aren  ndicate the deadline for companies to sign I up to become an exhibitorn  tate the process for becoming an exhibitor Sn  rovide a point of contact for any questions PN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 27
  • 28. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations6 Target AudienceA key element of the forum to discuss at your While creating an invitation list, pay specialfirst planning committee meeting is the intended attention to well-known or highly respectedaudience. The audience will help you achieve institutions, like the chamber of commerce; theiryour forum’s goals, so its composition is crucial participation could lead to more buy-in from your success. If your goal is to bring together key stakeholderswho can advance policies or programs to address Connecticut Workforce Housing Forumshousing needs in your community, you will need Through its Regional Workforce Housingyour REALTOR® members, local government Market Development and Education Program,officials, community leaders, housing nonprofits, the Connecticut Association of REALTORS®lenders, business leaders, builders and developers, (CAR) conducted a series of forums across thepolicymakers and media representatives. A diverse state to educate key stakeholders about the array ofplanning committee should be able to identify the housing options they can create for residents. CARkey people to invite. targeted its forums at mayors, first selectmen, For the NAR regional workforce housing forums planners, zoning commissioners, REALTORS®,our goal was to bring REALTOR® members together builders, developers, business executives andwith others in the affordable housing community community leaders. The forums have providedthat share our concerns regarding the growing need a director of contacts for community leaders tofor affordable workforce housing. For each of the consult and created municipal and town teams of10 forums that NAR held from 2008 and 2011, the supporters of affordable workforce housing.1audience was composed of approximately 50% mixbetween REALTORS® and these other groups. If the goal of your event is to achieve a morespecific action oriented outcome, you may decide notes and linksto limit the attendees to people who have the 1 Tackling Workforce Housing State by State:authority to make decisions about particular The Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Finalpolicies or regulations. For invitation-only events, Report, pg. 35, sure to note in the invitation that if the invitee tackling-workforce-housing-state-by-state-final-cannot come, someone else from their organization reportis welcome to attend.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 28
  • 29. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations7 Timeline & WorkplanCreating a Plan n  hink of the steps along your timeline not as TPutting together a timeline and detailed workplan point-in-time events but rather as ranges of timewill help you keep your project focused and on running minimally from “must start by”track. It will also make it easier for you to make to “must be completed by.”adjustments to deal with unexpected issues that n  emember that multiple activities can take place Rcome up or delays. simultaneously, so your timeline does not have Some tasks must be done at the last minute, to be a series of strictly sequential steps, bute.g., preparation of badges and stuffing program more of a flow of overlapping tasks.packets, while others need to be carried out wellin advance, such as finding sponsors, booking n  dd in some extra time to catch up on tasks Aspeakers, and distributing programs. A written that take longer than expected, to reassess yourplan will help you put the pieces together in the progress, or generally to accommodate thecorrect order and fill in any gaps with tasks that not really have a time requirement, like n  e realistic. If a task would take two days, Bchoosing menus. uninterrupted, think about who will actually A timeline guideline and a sample timeline are be doing the work and think about what otherincluded in the Tools and Resources. commitments or responsibilities that person might have. Instead of assuming the task willEstablishing a Timeline be completed in two days, maybe it’s best toIdentify a target date for your event, but be assume four or five.prepared to adjust that date as you talk with your n  on’t forget holidays, weekends, or previous Dpartner organizations, speakers, and the site. commitments (e.g., vacations) for those who will If you are doing this for the first time, you may be doing the work. Also, remember the regularalso discover that the planning period required day-to-day demands of people’s busy far longer than you imagined. The best way toavoid surprises is to create a timeline. n  f you’re inviting elected officials, the best I Here are some ideas that might help in mapping time to hold the event is at the beginning of anout your timeline: election year. Housing is an important issue so interest is likely to be high, but scheduling cann  dentify which activities are dependent upon I be difficult so begin planning and announce others (e.g., you can’t finalize the program or your date months in advance. And securing the send out reminder messages until you’ve nailed attendance of the mayor or other prominent down the date). official up front will help get other elected officials there as well.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 29
  • 30. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Planning the ForumIdeally, you should start planning your forum at least twelve weeks in advance. Spend some time thinking about how you want the forum to operate. Will you use panels ora town hall format? Will you focus on one major keynote speaker or several? Will you focus onone main question or multiple issues? Will you also offer education classes related to the forumtopics? You’ll need to decide what elements are most important to you and which ones you caninclude within the budget you have available. There are several basic decisions that you will need to make simultaneously. It is hard toanticipate all logistical matters, but the more precise planning you do, the more smoothly theevent will go.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 31
  • 31. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 Setting a DateIdeally, your forum will take place during n  eather: If people are traveling to attend the Wtimes when the issue you want to discuss is current forum, weather can play a large role in itsand relevant. success. Avoid times of year when problematic Keep the following things in mind while weather, like snowstorms, are likely to occur.selecting a date and time for the event: n  onflicts: Find out the schedule for other events C and meetings your audience might be interestedn  elect a date and time that will be convenient S in attending and avoid those dates. This will take and manageable for your target audience. For some effort, but it will be worth it. example, don’t organize events for the week end if your target audience is housing practitioners. n  peakers: If you have a “perfect keynote speaker” S A workforce housing forum is a work-related in mind, consider his/her availability as well as activity and your audience will be more likely to whether there is a fee involved. attend if it is held during the work week. n  enue: The date you want to hold the forum Vn  ake sure that your event’s date and time M will also depend on whether an appropriate doesn’t clash with other events, particularly venue is available on that date. A central and bigger events. For example, it is not a good idea accessible location is the best setting. to organize your housing forum on the same day that HUD is holding a meeting or event. You should pick the date for your event andreserve the venue as early as possible so youcan begin speaker recruitment and logisticalarrangements. When picking a date, keep in mind:N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 32
  • 32. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 Identifying a ThemeThe focus of your forum will depend are concerned that the housing demand in Austinon the issues in your community. Questions will outpace the affordable housing consider: Here are a few questions to consider in determining the theme of your forum.n  s your market too high cost for your workforce? I n  s your topic relevant? Will it attract an audience? In  s there sufficient housing stock available in the I Look at what topics are considered important at price range for workforce buyers and renters? the present time. The type of issues you wouldn  s there limited land available for building I address in a workforce housing forum generally affordable housing? remain of interest.n  re there downpayment and rental assistance A n  s your planning committee equipped with I programs available for consumers? And are they knowledge regarding local, industry, and aware of these resources? national priorities?n  re buyers having difficulty qualifying for A n  o you know of other similar events being D mortgages? planned in the community? It is likely that there will be similar events taking place. Be sure thatn  re there regulations that restrict or limit A your event is complimentary to other events and development of affordable housing? not too similar, since the number of potentialn  re there any incentives available for employers A participants is finite, and you could both end up to offer housing assistance to their employees? with low participation rates if you are competing for the same audience and speakers.n  s your community losing residents and I businesses because it cannot meet the housing n  ave there been national developments in the field? H needs of its workforce? Is there an obvious national agenda to be addressed? For example, has new legislation been issued which For example, the NAR regional forum in people will need to find out about and discuss? AreBoston focused very much on planning and there funding imperatives? Have new governmentdensity issues and how to provide affordable initiatives been unveiled?housing for workers in a high-cost market. In n  on’t have too many themes. If the forum Dcontrast, the regional forum in Austin focused themes appear to be too broad and varied,on how the community will be able to provide members of your target audiences are likely toenough affordable housing stock to house the think, “Well, parts of this look relevant to me,quickly growing population. As one of the fastest but there’s an awful lot that isn’t directly usefulgrowing communities in the country, local leaders to me,” and decide not to attend.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 33
  • 33. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations3 Finding a LocationVenues come in all shapes and sizes with Venue Selection Tips are included in the Toolsvarying facilities and equally varying budgets. If and Resources to provide additional are working on a tight budget, government Key items that you should include on yourbuildings or community centers can be a very checklist include:economical option. Some possible locations to consider include: Location n  ill the audience feel comfortable in the Wn  he REALTOR® association offices or training T space? (For example, some people may not feel center (assuming the facility will accommodate a comfortable in a church building; others may group the size you are expecting) need it to be disability accessible, etc.)n  ity or State Government Building C n  as it easy to locate the venue on your first visit? Wn  hamber of Commerce C n  ill the site be attractive to the media? Wn  ommunity College or University Cn  ommunity Center C Space and Layoutn  ommunity Organization Meeting Room C n  s there adequate signage already or will you be I able to put up your own?n  hurch, Synagogue, Temple or Mosque C n  s the facility disability accessible? In  own Hall or Public Amphitheater T n  oes it include meeting rooms sufficient for Dn  ibrary L the size of your forum?n  chool S n  an the space accommodate a variety of C seating plans? Once you have identified a possible venue youwill need to visit the venue to make sure it will n  onsider what kind of atmosphere you are Cmeet your needs. trying to create, how you want the audience to Before you visit, draw up a list of the essential interact with your speakers, and how you wantitems that you will require for your particular them to interact with each other.event — things that cannot be compromised on,regardless of how much you are impressed with Parking/Transportationthe venue. Also take a checklist of general items to n  ill there be adequate parking for participants Wconsider, so that you can later compare notes on that drive to the forum?the various venues you look at.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 34
  • 34. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  s the site easily accessible by public I Generally things like catering and AV cost are transportation? specifically detailed in the contract. The cost of these items will depend on the level of services you request, so be clear about what you are asking for,Audio Visual Services/Lighting/Equipment and what services you are agreeing to pay for atn  s there adequate lighting in the meeting rooms? I your forum.n  an the venue provide AV support (mics, C For example, you’ll want to know if the price lecterns, technical support, etc.)? includes the provision of lecterns, microphones, spotlights, screens, staging, etc. If not, find outn  ill the venue provide equipment like projector, W exactly what items are available, what condition screens, etc.? they are in, and how much they will cost. If you are going to use an audio visual technician theyCatering may prefer to use their own equipment which isn  an the venue provide catering? Does it fit C likely to be regularly tested and upgraded. within your budget? A sample venue resume with specifications for an event is included in the Tools and Resources.n  an you use an outside caterer or bring in food C This will give you a sense of the level of detail that if you choose? you’ll need to include in your contract.n  ill catering costs be considered in relation to W the room rental fee — will a certain level of Negotiating Rates catering reduce the room rate? Venues do not come with immovable price tags attached. The rates noted almost always haveHotel Accommodations some room for negotiating. Start at a price lowern  an the facility provide sleeping rooms for C than you would expect them to accept so that a guests who travel to the forum at a discounted compromise will lead you to a more realistic target. rate? Don’t forget, if you start high you cannot go lower. Although you will probably be asked directly,n  ill committing to a room block of a certain W avoid telling them exactly what your budget size reduce the rate for sleeping rooms? is. Keep it as vague as possible to start with, “This is being run on a tight budget”; “We haveCost a reasonable budget but it is likely we will still require some compromise on both our parts”.n  ill there be a fee to use the space? W Appear cool and confident when negotiating.n  ill the support services, like AV and lighting be W Remember that no matter how much you may like included in overall costs or billed separately? a particular venue, there are most likely alternative venues you could use, which the venue coordinator will be aware.What’s Included in the Contract?Venues vary greatly as to what is included in therental price. Make sure that your contract is clearon what is covered in your overall cost.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 35
  • 35. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations4 Creating the AgendaNow it is time to plan the program of your Some things to keep in mind:forum. In general, you want the tone of the forumto be upbeat but serious. And you want to end the n  efreshment Breaks: Build adequate time into Rday positively, looking forward to future action. the program for refreshment and meal breaks. The two elements you need to address in Attendees will need to get refreshments or food,putting together your forum agenda are content network, stretch their legs, and go to the restroom.and structure. n  ocation of Conference Rooms: If the forum L is spread throughout a number of rooms, buildContent: The content should address the forum in enough time form attendees to be able togoals and provide a learning experience for the move from one room to another, particularly ifparticipants. All speakers, panels, presentations the rooms are on different floors.and break-out groups should help the audienceunderstand the main topic of the forum and n  fternoon Malaise: To help keep everyone on Aidentify sources for additional information their toes, after lunch, make sure the room is notand future action. Breakout sessions should too warm and schedule a lively and entertainingbe designed to highlight concrete examples of speaker with a particularly interesting subject.successful strategies and business models. n  onsecutive Days: If running a two-day event CStructure: Your main objective is to fully where attendees do not need to register on theengage the forum audience and encourage them second day, it is wise not to start too early in theto connect with others and learn how they can morning. To keep attendees from coming in latework together to address the issues at hand. One put a very interesting speaker that no one wantsway to accomplish this is to avoid a program that to miss in that first too lengthy and to build in opportunities for n  pecial Accommodations: Depending on Sparticipants to network and interact. your target audience, you may need to consider whether childcare or children’s activities can be It is best to limit the event to one day. You’ll made available on site. For example, an eventwant to provide refreshments at key points during forum targeted at working families may attractthe day in order to keep participants engaged and more participants if attendees know that there willactive throughout the day. be onsite childcare. This might be a consideration when identifying planning partners.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 36
  • 36. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations An agenda for a short workforce housing forum Call to Actiondesigned to last about three hours might look like this: Moderator or local advocate suggests next step for audience, ideally something that can be begun atWelcome the forum. For example: a request for volunteers to participate on a workforce taskforce; an invitationGiven by one of the organizers, local advocate for employers to sign up to be contacted aboutor celebrity, probably the person who will act as an Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) initiative;moderator for the rest of the event. an invitation for attendees to participate in an upcoming EAH Class or have a class provided byIntroduction & Opening Remarks the local REALTORS®; etc.An overview of the issue(s) to be discussed at If you plan to do a longer event, a full day, youthe forum. can use the same format and simply add additional panels and speakers. Be sure to allow sufficient times for speakers to share their information andPanel — Local Housing Market lots of time for questions and answers.(statistics and forecasts) One way to help facilitate more interactionTypically, 2–4 panelists speaking about the local and networking among attendees is to hold aor regional housing market and challenges facing networking reception at the end of your event.workforce buyers, with a moderator facilitating It is also a good idea to give participants a take-and introducing the panel. Topics might include: a-way they can share with their own membershipprices/affordability; buyer demographics; housing or colleagues when they return home. You maychallenges; homeownership; transit issues as want to tie your forum to the release of a surveyrelated to housing and jobs; sustainability; housing or study, or some kind of guidebook or tool. Evenstock availability; density needs; etc. if the take-a-way is just a well-crafted document summarizing the meeting and the action items thatQuestion and Answer: come out of it, that follow through will go a longSpeakers take questions from the audience. way towards keeping people focused on this issue once they return home.Panel — Tools and Solutions To assist you in planning your agenda, sample agendas from national and local housing forumsTypically, 2–4 panelists speaking about the variety conducted by NAR and by local REALTOR®of strategies and solutions that can be used to Associations are included in the Tools andaddress some of the challenges identified in the Resources.first panel, with the moderator facilitating andintroducing the panel. Topics might include:community land trust; regulatory solutions thataddress zoning and land use issues; employer-assisted housing programs; downpayment/rentalassistance programs; shared equity programs; taxcredit development projects; etc.Question and Answer:Speakers take questions from the audience.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 37
  • 37. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations5 Speakersthe importance of good speakers cannot be up important new channels of communication withunderestimated. You may have an excellent venue, others in their field for them? Will it allow them toa large crowd of participants and have organized it gain recognition of their work? Will it lead to newall perfectly, but if the presentations are poor, none business opportunities for them?of it will matter. There are certain characteristics There are a few specific types of speakers youyou will want to look for in a potential speaker. will want to include in your forum to ensure that When selecting speakers: you provide the information the audience needs to understand the issue at hand and exploren  ook for articulate and engaging people L viable options.n  ook for people knowledgeable about the L A Data/Statistics Person: You should include topics of your event someone who can talk about the housing marketn  hink about assembling speakers who reflect T in your area and what the issues are regarding the full diversity of culture, experience, and affordability and accessibility. He/she should perspective in your industry also be able to discuss the impact that the lack of affordable housing is having on the community.n  eek a balance between relying on the strengths S This may be someone from your city’s housing of experienced advocates and offering the department, a local industry expert, or someone forum as an opportunity to emerging leaders from the state government who tracks these issues.n  e sure all the speakers know about each B A Housing Finance Person: You should include other and are comfortable speaking together someone who can explain the financing resources with respect that are available for buyers, renters, and also forn  nclude speakers who can provide case studies I those building affordable housing. This can be of the successful strategies and programs that covered by someone from your state Housing they are implementing. It is good to have a few Finance Agency, a lender, a nonprofit housing examples of different types of programs to reflect organization that deals with housing finance or the variety of ways that solutions can be created. a representative from the state or local housing department. It is important to consider what the benefits will An Outreach and Education Person: It isbe to speakers who participate in the forum. This helpful to include representatives from nonprofitwill help you recruit the speakers you need. Will organizations that work to provide education andthis be an important and timely opportunity for counseling services. They are very knowledgeablethem to share their expertise? Will the forum open about the needs of buyers and renters in theN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 38
  • 38. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsmarket, the challenges consumers are facing, keep your budget for paying travels expenses andand the range of solutions that seem to work. honoraria in mind when selecting speakers. SomeFor these speakers, look to the local nonprofits possible resources in identifying speakers include:that provide homebuyer education and counselingservices, foreclosure prevention services, etc. NARA good resource for identifying housing Do not hesitate to use NAR as a resource tononprofits is the NeighborWorks® America website,1 identify speakers and/or program examples towhich provides a database of NeighborWorks® include in your forum. NAR has conducted aorganizations across the country. NeighborWorks® variety of housing forums and workshops sinceis an NAR strategic partner. the initial creation of the Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) in 2003. As a result, the HOPA Representative from a Local Employer: You staff has compiled a substantial collection ofwill want to include an employer or a representative information on speakers and successful housingfrom a local government, local business, or major program models. The HOP staff is available toinstitution (university, hospital, school) that has assist you in identifying and contacting speakersimplemented some type of workforce housing for your event. HOP staff is also available toprogram. He/she can speak to the benefits of these participate as a speaker on workforce housing andprograms, to employers, employees, and to the EAH, if desired. Read about some of the speakerscommunity as a whole. and programs that have been featured in NAR’sAn Affordable Housing Developer: Developers Bring Workers Home series here. 3can speak to the challenges that exist with buildingand preserving affordable housing stock. They Your Planning Committeecan also discuss regulatory issues that may impact You should draw on your planning committeehousing development. They regularly deal with members’ experience and knowledge of localissues of zoning, density restrictions, planning, experts and national speakers to get the rightgreen building, etc. This group can provide speakers for your forum. Some of your committeeexamples of innovative development and planning members might even be the best possible choice.projects. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is agood resource for identifying speakers in this area. Other EventsULI annually recognizes innovative workforce By attending similar events or reviewing thehousing developers with the Jack Kemp Workforce programs from other events, you will be able toHousing Models of Excellence Awards. For identify potential speakers. Some good places to lookinformation on ULI and the Jack Kemp Awards include housing forums or conferences, state housingvisit ULI’s website.2 conferences, federal government events (HUD, Federal Reserve, Home Loan Banks, FDIC, etc.), events held by housing finance agencies, industryWhere to find speakers groups, financial institutions, etc.Your organization probably has contacts withsuitable and willing speakers; however, you willalso want to look externally for them. Be sure toN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 39
  • 39. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsLocal and State Government Officials with them. One thing that works well is toGovernment officials are frequently asked to speak do conference calls with panelists who willat forums and events, often in the role of keynote be speaking together. This allows them to getspeaker or to kick off an event. This can be very to know each other and to coordinate theirworthwhile, particularly in terms of media attraction. comments and work out the flow for the panel.Keep in mind, you may be let down at short notice n  e clear about what time the event will start, Bif official government business prevents them how long they will have to present and who youattending. It’s best to have a back-up plan in place hope to have in the audiencejust in case. Check out the Tips on Inviting ElectedOfficials in the Tools and Resources. n  ollow up with them throughout your planning F period to reconfirm their availability andPreparing Speakers identify any AV or equipment needs they may have for their participationOnce a speaker has accepted your invitation sendthem a confirmation letter thanking them for n  rovide panel members with specific questions Pagreeing to speak, and making clear the terms. For that will be asked of them in advance so thatexample, you may or may not be paying a speaker they may have time to prepare; this typefee or honorarium, traveling expenses, etc. If this of preparation also eliminates overlap andis clear from the start there should be no room for confusion in answersmisunderstandings later on. n  or the Welcome or Opening Remarks speakers, F Keep the speakers informed and updated on provide talking points that outline key factsprogress as the forum gets closer. You should do a about workforce housing issues that they canconference call with the speaker to discuss in detail incorporate into their remarkswhat you’d like to see in their presentation and thebest way for them to deliver it. A sample Speaker confirmation letter, panel To help them prepare and to make sure your details form, and talking points are included inevent is a success, consider the following: Tools and Resources.n  end the speakers information about the event S and your take on the issues at hand Moderators It is a good idea to have a forum moderator whon  learly explain the format of the forum and C acts as the master of ceremonies. your desired outcomes The forum moderator keeps the program movingn  e clear with them on how much time they have B by conveying the schedule for the day, any changes beyond the time which is allocated for Q&A from the published program, messages from the from the audience organizers, and housekeeping details. Often the job will go to someone from the organizing committeen  o over the set-up of the event and let them G or an official from a major sponsor. know who will be presenting on the panelN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 40
  • 40. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations You will also want to have a moderator foreach panel session. The panel moderator’s roleis principally to introduce the speakers to theaudience, to ensure they do not overrun theirallotted time, and provide some insight and bringforth salient points for discussion. The panelmoderator can also summarize at the end of eachpanel and field questions from the audience tothe panel of speakers.links1 http://www.nw.org2 http://www.uli.org3 housing-forumsN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 41
  • 41. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations6 Pre-registrationIt’s best to provide participants with a way n  hone number Pto pre-register for the forum. That will allow you n  -mail address eto get an advance count of the number of expectedattendees so you can make adjustments to your n  pecial meal requirements Scatering and facilities needs, if necessary. You can n  ccessibility requirements Aalso use this information to adjust or increase youroutreach efforts accordingly. n  ethod of payment M You can manage your registration process byphone, fax, mail, e-mail, or online. Web-based You should review registrations periodically toregistration systems have become popular and look ensure the correct mix of attendees. If one targetvery professional. For many organizers web-based audience is unresponsive, you may want to followregistration systems are the preferred system to up with e-mail reminders or phone-calls.use. These systems provide a pre-set format where Everyone registering for the forum,participants can register online and make payments, whether fee-paying or otherwise, will requirereceive automated confirmation details, etc. a confirmation that their registration has been You can purchase special software for this or complete and they are expected to attend. Theuse a service provider. There are also a number of confirmation can include a number of items suchonline systems that are free or low cost, and easy as directions, instructions for when they arrive,to use. HOP staff can assist you in identifying reminder of the registration time, etc. Be sure thatsome options. the confirmation message is consistent with the Typically for each registrant you will want to branding of the forum.capture the following information:n  ame Nn  itle Tn  ompany Cn  ddress AN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 42
  • 42. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations7 Marketing the ForumMarketing and promoting your forum Ask yourself a few questions before you start:will be a key factor in the success of your event.You will need to develop materials that you can n Who is the forum aimed at?use to reach out to your target audience to let n  hat information does the brochure need Wthem know about the forum, its purpose, and how to contain?participating can benefit them. You’ll also need tocreate a plan to market the event. n  re there certain commitments you have made A You’ll need a variety of marketing materials. to the sponsors regarding the inclusion andTypically, these will include: positioning of their logos? n  ow will the brochures be distributed — by Hn Save the date postcard (print or electronic) mail, by e-mail, by web posting, etc.?n Program brochure n  oes it need to be in any secondary language Dn Sponsorship package, etc. (if your target audience requires it)?n Exhibitor package, if applicable You can create your brochure in-house or hiren Registration message (print or electronic) an agency to design it. If keeping costs low is a concern doing the job in-house is probably the bestn Registration reminders (print or electronic) approach. If you decide to use an agency, obtainn  dedicated page on your website with A several quotes before placing your business, as information about the forum and how to register prices will vary considerably. The creation and distribution of these Other Materialsmaterials should be factored into your timeline In addition to the program brochure you will wantand your workplan. to develop a “save-the-date” message, as well as an electronic registration message and registrationProgram Brochure reminders, which reflect the theme and design ofYour main marketing piece for your forum will be your program brochure.the program brochure. The brochure should appeal A sample program brochure, save-the-date, andto your target audience, set the tone for the event registration and reminder messages are included inand provide standard information. the Tools and Resources.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 43
  • 43. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsDistributing Conference Materials considered a sufficient lead time for distributingOnce you have completed your brochure and the brochure. In addition to your initial outreachconference materials, you need to get it in front you can follow up with reminder messages orof your potential audience. postcards, as well as telephone reminders. You will pull your mailing list for distributing your There is a tendency for event attendees tobrochure from many sources. These might include: register for these types of events as late as possible, especially if expenses have to be passed throughn  embership lists M accounting departments. This can be frustrating for you as the organizer. To address this you mayn  iggy back mailings with companies you P want to offer an “early bird” rate to encourage early may have connections with who are targeting registrations. The increase in early registrations similar individuals will give you an idea of how the event is beingn  ists obtained from partners L received by potential attendees, which will be useful in your marketing and promotion efforts.n  lected officials lists En  ttendees from past events who had an interest A Marketing Plan in this topic A strong marketing plan will help ensure that youn  edia lists M do not spend a significant amount of time putting together an event and only have a small group If doing a very large mailing, you might consider of people attend. You should incorporate youusing a mailing house. Professional mailing houses marketing plan into your overall workplan.will fill the envelopes, address, and mail them for a Ways to increase turnout at your event:fee, and a reduction can sometimes be gained in themailing cost. Ask your Post Office about other bulk n  ake a list of colleagues and business contacts Mmailing options. you will personally invite You should also do an electronic mailing to n  and out flyers at any event you or your Hpotential attendees. Use the same sources to partners hold prior to the forumcompile your electronic mailing list that you usefor your hard copy mail list. n  lace notices about the event in electronic P You should also post the program brochure on newsletters and on organization websitesyour website, your partners and sponsors websites, n  oordinate with partners to send out e-mail Cand other social networking sites so it can be blasts to their contact lists and partners, postdownloaded by potential attendees, along with the information on their websites, or ask themdetails for registering. to place a notice in any e-newsletters that they distribute to their constituentsWhen to send the Materials n  sk local newspapers and radio, and/or television AThe people you are reaching out to have busy stations to run public service announcementsschedules. You should send save-the-date about the forum or include your event in theirinformation at least four months in advance event calendarof your forum date. Twelve weeks is usuallyN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 44
  • 44. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  end invitation letters to all community S n  onsider dividing the invitee list among C organizations, groups, businesses, and planning committee members and placing individuals you want in attendance at the forum phone calls or sending personalized e-mails to key invitees.n  f you will be having elected officials in I attendance or a local celebrity giving the opening n  he planning committee can also send direct T remarks, promote it! invitations to personal colleagues and partners to encourage their participation. Keep in mind that the best strategy to getpeople to attend is to personally invite them. It’s This approach can be particularly helpful ina simple concept that people often overlook. increasing registration numbers, where original This is where your planning committee can registration e-mails may have been invaluable.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 45
  • 45. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations8 Media OutreachYou can do as many or as few of the following n  alk with press people at the event. One person Tsuggestions, based on the amount of time you have should be assigned as the spokesperson and toto put into getting media attention. greet the press. Although it is up to you, keep in mind that the n  f the event was a success, but media Imore media attention you get, the greater impact professionals were not present, publicize theyour forum will have. results yourselvesn  ry to get advance media coverage. Send a media T n  all the press people who did not come to C advisory to key media contacts a week before tell them what happened, or send a follow-up the meeting. press releasen  onsider inviting area college media classes to C n  hank the media who did cover your event T videotape your event — spread their coverage via your website, Facebook, Twitter, or blogs and let them known  ake follow-up calls to media people, city M that you continued their coverage through desks, daybooks, and assignment editors a day your social media outlets or two before the meeting n  f you received inaccurate coverage, call the In  repare a press packet for distribution at the P media contact to clarify your message meeting. It should include a press release and background information on your issue and your For more detailed guidelines on media organization as well as bios of any key speakers outreach, check out the NAR’s Media Training and their contact information in the event that Guide for Affordable Housing Advocates.1 the media want to do an interview in advance of the event.n  repare visuals. Both newspapers and television P link prefer taking interesting pictures rather than 1 pictures of talking heads. Prepare some visuals, charts, banners, or stunts that you think might be interesting. The visual should not just be “catchy” but should convey your message.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 46
  • 46. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Conducting the ForumIt’s best to meet with the venue coordinator the day before your event so there is timeto address any problems or challenges you may discover. You should have a way to contact thisperson should a question or emergency arise during the event. This could be via walkie-talkie,phone, blackberry, etc. Brief all staff members so they are aware of the schedule of events, location of restrooms,coatroom facilities, meeting locations, and other important details. All staff should be identified with name tags or badges so that attendees know whichpeople will address their questions and concerns.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 47
  • 47. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 Set-up & Check-inBefore the Day Starts You should also keep an area free for dealingBefore anyone arrives, walk from the entrance to with late payments and inquiries, and ensure thatthe registration desk and on to the meeting room you have all the items to hand that you may need,to determine if there is sufficient signage, if there such as receipts, pens and credit card paymentare obstacles blocking the route, etc. Take care of forms. Remember to book a phone line if anany problems immediately. automated credit card machine is to be used. Go through testing the audio visual equipment When participants arrive, they should check inwith the AV technician to make sure everything and receive a name badge and program working properly. Confirm that any hand-held/ The program packet should contain:roving mics you requested are in the room andworking. Also make sure speaker presentations n  heir badge (should show participants Thave been loaded onto the appropriate computers name, title, company affiliation and city)and are cued up and ready to go. n  he agenda T Assign someone to keep track of the time tosignal the speakers when their allotted period n  rogram brochure Pis ending. Small signs with large easily readable n  ists of all participants and sponsors Lnumbers indicating 10, 5, 1 (minutes left) will help. Decide ahead of time how you want to keep n  rief biographies of speakers Bin contact with the attendees after the forum and n  peaker presentation handouts Scollect that information. Don’t rely on them toprovide business cards or send e-mails; get the n  nformation on sessions Iinfo during the forum, or preferably during n  n evaluation form Apre-registration. n  ist of useful numbers and travel hints L (names and numbers of local taxi firms,On-site Registration rail station, airport, area restaurants, etc.The registration desk should be locatedwhere it can be easily spotted as participants n  nvoice/receipt (if they pay registration Iarrive, so they cannot slip through without fee onsite)checking-in. The desk should be manned at alltimes throughout the registration period andafterwards in case of late comers.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 48
  • 48. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® AssociationsResource Table or Exhibit Area By requesting each speaker’s estimated time ofIf you choose to have an exhibit area at your arrival and method of transport in advance youforum, you will want to direct participants to that will be in a position to know whether there is anyarea when you sign them in so they can see what cause for concern if a speaker has not arrived atinformation and services are represented there. One the start of the conference. Other commitmentsway to ensure that participants visit the exhibit area may prevent them from attending the whole eventis to hold either coffee breaks or a reception in that and you will expend much-needed energy andarea. It will ensure that attendees visit the exhibits resources chasing missing speakers who may haveand give the exhibitors more opportunities to mix had no intention of arriving until lunchtime forand mingle with attendees. their afternoon talk. Even if you do not have an exhibit area, it If visual aids are being used, introduceis a good idea to have a Resource Table, where the speaker to the operator so that necessaryinformation and materials from your organization, information can be exchanged and time can beyour partners, sponsors, and speakers can be arranged for setting up their particular AV system.displayed and accessible to participants. This does Don’t forget the moderators when dealingnot have to be a large area. It could simply consist with speaker issues. Make sure they have beenof a few tables to hold the information. introduced to the day’s speakers and that they have appropriate biographies to enable them to introduce them. They should also have a list of anyParticipant Care housekeeping notices they need to give, such asYou should plan to give each participant an any lunch notices, changes, etc.information pack as they arrive. The pack may Bottled water or a pitcher of fresh waterbe a simple cardboard folder, a cloth bag, or even and glasses should be available for the speakersa small briefcase, depending on what you want and spend. The options are numerous and, they During the refreshment breaks, don’t forget toprovide an excellent sponsorship opportunity. The look after the people who often get waylaid, suchinformation packets should be packed in advance as the moderator and the audio visual technicians.of the event as it can be very time consuming. They will be in need of refreshment as everyoneAssembling information packets can be one of the else, but often find themselves tied up withactivities you schedule for staff the day before the participants and other speakers.event, along with the staff briefing. It works welland goes more quickly when you engage the whole Sponsor Careteam to assist. Because the sponsors are providing you with the financial resources to assist you in holdingSpeaker Care your event, it is very important that you stronglyYou will have provided the speakers with adequate demonstrate your appreciation for their support.directions to the venue and instructions as to Be sure to provide substantial recognition of yourwhat to do on arrival, such as whether they need sponsor(s) onsite through signage and conferenceto register with you and collect a badge, who they materials, verbal recognition by the moderators,need to report to, etc. and giving them opportunities to participate in the event.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 49
  • 49. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations After the event send a personalized thank you Exhibitor Careletter to the sponsor. Keep in mind; you may Prior to the event you should provide yourwant to approach them again to sponsor other exhibitors with information on what they need toevents so you want to maintain a good relationship do, where the exhibit space is, and dates and timeswith them. If the attendee list was to be part of for exhibit set up and break down.the sponsorship agreement, ensure this is also During the event, make sure that attendees aresent promptly (first checking that this does not aware of the exhibit area and when they can accesscontradict any privacy policy). it. As noted above, you should consider having a break or reception take place in the exhibit area to facilitate attendees visiting the exhibit area.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 50
  • 50. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 Managing the DayStarting on Time For these types of events, buffet or box lunchesIf the day is going to run on schedule, it is essential are the most efficient. Participants can collect theirthat you start on time. Give participants notice food and take the opportunity to sit and networkwhen the day will start, and provide ten- and five- with people they want to talk with.minute warnings before beginning the forum.There will always be stragglers! When participants Setting the Tonehave entered into the event room, straighten up Above all, you need to relax and enjoy the event!the registration area in preparation for the morning Participants and speakers will all take their cue frombreak. And notify the venue staff if there is anything you as the key person. If you appear relaxed, cheerfulthey need to address. but alert and ready to respond to any emergency, so will they. Conversely, if you appear nervous, anxiousRefreshment Breaks and look upon the whole event as a burden ratherAfter the first refreshment break, assess how it than a challenge, no one will enjoy it.went — were there long lines? Was there enoughcoffee? If there had been any problem, alert theappropriate person so that the later refreshmentbreaks can be trouble-free.LunchIt’s a good idea to include some open time duringthe lunch period to allow participants to freelyenjoy their food and network before moving intoyour luncheon keynote speaker. Usually 30 to 45minutes works well.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 51
  • 51. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations3 TroubleshootingIn the event of a disaster — the screen falls Whether or not the complaint is justified, keepover, the sound system breaks down, a speaker fails calm. Keep your voice steady and listen fully toto arrive — stay calm! what the person has to say. Get the facts of the Everyone will look to you for the answer. matter, empathize with the complainant and assureRemember, it’s not the incident that will be them that you have understood their complaintremembered, it is how quickly you get things and plan to take action. Be sure that any actionback together. promised to resolve the situation is addressed and At the end of the day, don’t forget to look followed up on as necessary.around for any belongings that may have been In any situation where a complaint is madeleft behind by participants. You will often find a that cannot be dealt with immediately, assuresweater, an umbrella or someone’s conference bag the attendee that you will get the information orcontaining their scrupulously taken notes. explanation they need as soon as possible (and If an attendee has a complaint/grievance for any don’t forget to do it)!reason, take them away from the main registrationarea to discuss it. This way:n You can give them your full attentionn They will feel you are listening to themn  ther participants do not have to be affected O by itN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 52
  • 52. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations After the ForumFirst, give yourself a pat on the back. Holding this type of event is aserious undertaking and you’ve completed your task. Remember that everyone has differentexpectations and that to keep the entire range of people — from speaker, partners, sponsors, staff,participants and the rest of your organization — happy is no small undertaking. The days and weeks after the event are very important as it is a time to analyze the forumand your own performance.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 53
  • 53. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 EvaluationYou will want to evaluate the success minutes to complete the form; after all it is in theirof your forum on at least two levels. best interests to do so as its purpose is to understand the participants’ needs better for future events. Post-event online evaluations are becoming1. Audience Feedback more popular. These allow for more extensiveDon’t be afraid to ask attendees for their opinions questions since you will not be asking theon the event. By asking them to complete a simple participant to fill it out quickly at the end of theevaluation form at the end of the forum, you day. If using a post-event evaluation, you shouldcan gather much useful information for future e-mail it out immediately after the event, and thenevents, as well as obtain their thoughts about your do one to two additional follow-up messages.efforts. The questionnaires can help you to make A sample evaluation form is included in thea judgment on the success of the venue, catering, Tools and Resources.registration process, quality of presentationsin content and delivery as well as obtainingsuggestions for future events. 2. Feedback from the planning Include an easy to complete evaluation form in committee and speakerseach participant’s information packet. The use of After the event is over and your group has takencheck boxes or a simple marking system wherever some time to relax, set up a time to meet andpossible allows swift completion of the form. You discuss how the event went. Go through themay wish to include a grading system for each of following questions to see what team membersthe speakers, based on delivery and content. This saw as successful aspects of the event and whatcan be particularly useful for future events, and areas could be improved for your next event.speakers who have scored well are able to refer toit when being considered for other events. n  ow did the location work out? Was it able to H The evaluation will help you gauge accommodate your needs?their response to the event and get a better n How successful was the publicity plan?understanding of what they learned. Ask the moderator to remind participants n  hat are ways you could get even more people Wthroughout the day to complete the evaluation to attend your next event?form before they leave. You have a much greater n  fter checking the sign-in sheets against the Achance of having a substantial and worthwhile list of people who said they would come, didnumber returned while participants are still on site individuals and other organizations produce thethan posted or faxed back after they have returned people they were committed to bring?home. Most participants will be happy to take a fewN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 54
  • 54. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  id you get walk-ins in response to flyers, D Ask yourself the following questions: posters or advance media coverage? 1.  id the forum satisfy the needs of the Dn  here the speakers and panels effective? W participants?n  ould you use the same speakers again? W 2.  id the forum meet the goals and satisfy Dn  ere there any logistical problems W the needs of the organizers? that occurred? 3.  id it serve its purpose? Dn  id anything occur you were not D 4.  id participants leave with the results that D prepared for? you wanted them to?n  ow could they be avoided in the future? H 5.  re the sponsors happy? An  ho didn’t attend that should have been W 6.  hat informal feedback did you receive W present, and whose presence would have from the participants that might prove aided the conversation? In other words, helpful in future planning? who “wasn’t at the table”?N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 55
  • 55. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 Post Event Wrap-upAfter the forum, follow up with Write to the speakers to thank them forparticipants, both individually and collectively, their time and include payment for their services,and do so more than once to continue expenses, etc., as appropriate. Remember that thethe dialogue. participant’s satisfaction, or lack of, is largely in Use e-mail, message boards, or Facebook their hands, so they deserve to know the feedbackto further that communication. The follow you received. If you have used evaluation forms,up can include a request for action (like a letter pass on quotes to the speakers who may find themor petition), sending out new data/statistics, useful to use on other occasions.announcing upcoming events, etc. You should follow up on any outstanding Be sure that you follow through on any components of your agreement with your sponsorsrequests made by participants during the forum. or exhibitors immediately after your event.Respond to any other questions that may followpromptly and courteously. Let everyone who contributed to the forum’ssuccess know how much you value their input andhard work. Send them a letter or e-mail messageexpressing your thanks.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 56
  • 56. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations Next StepsHaving completed your forum, you will need to decide what next stepsyour association wants to take. There are several things you can do to ensure that you keep themomentum you have built. The actions you decide to take will depend, in part, on what issuesand strategies were identified during the forum.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 57
  • 57. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations1 What Your Association Can DoHere are some of the actions your association n  ork with your local government officials Wcan take to further advance workforce housing in to organize a taskforce or committee toyour community: develop a plan for a workforce housing initiative for your community. The taskforce/n  old additional events. Depending on the H committee should include a cross-section of issues and strategies identified at the forum, you those represented at the forum, to ensure that may wish to hold additional events (housing the interests of all stakeholders are addressed. fairs or workshops) to better inform consumers The taskforce/committee will be able to further about the resources available to assist them in examine the housing needs of your community’s obtaining affordable housing. workforce, and explore which strategies may work best.  Example: The Connecticut Association of REALTORS® conducted a series of forums across  Example: The Arizona Association of REALTORS® the state to educate municipal and town leaders on (AAR) partnered with lenders, local businesses, and the need for workforce housing and build a network Fannie Mae to create the Housing Arizona’s Workforce for municipal and town leaders to advocate for (HAW) Initiative, a statewide effort to increase workforce housing. homeownership among workforce families. The group encouraged area employers to offer homeownershipn  ffer classes to educate your members O education and financial assistance to employees, and about affordable and workforce housing provided potential homeowners in finding low cost issues. NAR’s Expanding Housing financing options from participating lenders. Opportunities and Employer-Assisted Housing classes 1 are both designed to provide members n  evelop an employer based solution. An D with specialized knowledge for working with Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) initiative workforce buyers. might be the best solution to address some of the issues raised at your forum. If you decide ton  reate a workforce housing specialist C pursue an EAH initiative you’ll want to check certification program. The Texas REALTORS®2 out the EAH Initiative Guide produced by and the North Carolina Association of NAR, which outlines different types of REALTORS® 3 have both created certification EAH initiatives and provides examples of programs to equip their members with successful efforts.4 specialized skills for working with workforce buyers. These programs include the NAR classes as part of the certification.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 58
  • 58. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationslinks1 housing-opportunity/sponsor-a-class.html2 http://www.txhomeprograms.org3 http://www.homes4nc.org4 housing-opportunity/toolkits/eah-guide.htmlN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 59
  • 59. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associations2 What Your Partners Can DoWhatever steps you decide to take, you Employers can:will want to continue to work with the partners n  urvey employees on workforce housing needs Sthat you have established relationships with andto develop new partnerships. Everyone brings n  artner with nonprofits to provide homebuyer, Psomething different to the table. homeownership, and financial literacy education As you move forward, a key question to ask n  rovide employees with downpayment, closing Pis what each group of stakeholders can contribute costs, or rental assistanceto the process: n  reate an Individual Development Account CThe public sector can: program to match employees’ savingsn  onduct a local/regional workforce housing C n  reate a mortgage buy down program, C needs assessment to buy down the interest rate on an employee’s mortgagen  xamine zoning issues that impact affordable E housing and multi-family development n  evelop affordable rental housing. Dn  ncourage mixed-use development E Housing Nonprofits can:n  everage public funds to create an employer- L n  rovide homeownership education and P assisted housing program that local employers counseling, and foreclosure prevention services can sign onto to maximize financial assistance to to consumers. buyers. A city program with a one-to-one match will double the assistance an employee receives. n  ontinue to develop and rehab affordable C housing properties.n  rovide tax incentives to support multi-family P development and rehab of affordable housing Financial Institutions can:n  xplore options to provide tax incentives to E n  rovide quality mortgage products and P employers who offer a housing benefit to downpayment assistance funds. their employees n  rovide grants to support nonprofits homebuyer P education and counseling services.N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 60
  • 60. Workforce Housing Forum Guide For State & Local REALTOR® Associationsn  evelop mortgage products to address D n  ousing Opportunity Program website H consumer needs, like shared equity mortgages on the REALTOR® Action Center 2 and lease purchase programs. n  rivate Sector Solutions for Workforce Pn  ake Real Estate Owned (REO) properties M Housing: What REALTORS® and Their available to buyers and affordable housing Partners Can Do 3 developers to generate more affordable n  eveloping Housing for the Workforce, A D housing stock. Toolkit: Urban Land Institute, 2007 4Policy Makers can: n  est Practices in Workforce Housing B Development: Urban Land Institute, 2009 5n  upport funding for affordable housing S development such as, New Markets Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, links Historic Rehab Tax Credit. 1  onsider proposals to establish dedicated C housing-state-by-state-final-report funding for affordable housing, such as a Housing Trust Fund. 2 housing-opportunityTo learn about more of the workforce housing 3 and strategies check out: PrivateSectorSolutionsPDF.pdf 4  ackling Workforce Housing State by State: T TerwilligerCenterforWorkforceHousing/Research. Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants aspx Final Report 1 5 TerwilligerCenterforWorkforceHousing/Research. aspxN AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F R E A LT O R S ® w w w . R E A LT O R . o r g 61
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