Workforce housing-forum-guide


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Workforce housing-forum-guide

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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