|OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing hosted its membership kick-off event May 20 at Will Rogers Theatre in Oklahoma City. More than 125 attendees registered for the event.
One of the main goals of the Coalition is to bring advocates together as part of a single housing movement and to empower people and organizations to inform their policymakers that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, affordable home.
The urgent need for a statewide affordable housing coalition became apparent in 2013 and 2014 when many in the industry worked on legislation that would eventually be known as the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act.
“A group like this is long overdue,” said Coalition member Dennis Shockley, executive director of the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency. “There are many housing needs in Oklahoma and this is a first step in addressing those needs.”
During the kick-off event, a diverse panel discussed the many housing issues facing Oklahomans and how the definition of affordable housing includes homeless individuals, youth aging out of foster care, low wage earners, and working families earning average incomes who get priced out of the market due to housing shortages in their area.
The panel consisted of: Scott Nixon with Sugar Creek Capital, Patrick Raglow with Catholic Charities, Greg Shinn with Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Rachel Dorsett with the Oklahoma Department of Humans Services, Brent Kisling of Enid Regional Development Alliance, Lance Windel with LW Development, and David Puckett with Integra Realty Resources.
“It was encouraging to see such a large and diverse group come together so quickly to be a part of the Coalition," said Andrea Frymire, a member of the Coalition’s board of directors and executive vice president of Midwest Housing Equity Group. "Our goal is to have a broad-based group to make effective change throughout the state.”
Information was also provided on the statewide housing needs assessment currently being conducted. Once completed, the assessment will serve as an important tool for developers, the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, investors and communities to use in directing capital and resources to generate housing where it is needed most.
The Coalition will hold its second meeting in the fall. Committees are being formed now. For more information on the Coalition or to join, visit www.affordablehousingcoalition.org.
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