I’ve returned from a few days in Washington, DC at the American Bar Association’s 21st Annual Conference on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law.

The theme of the conference was "Making the Case for Affordable Housing and Community Development".  I attended a panel discussion on current Fair Housing Issues and a session on "hot topics" from the view of HUD representatives as well as an extremely informative discussion about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

I was privileged to hear remarks from HUD’s General Counsel and found a presentation on Ethics in Affordable Housing Transactions thought provoking and illustrative of the challenges facing attorneys involved in the sale, purchase, and development of housing communities.

The continuing need for affordable housing in our country was highlighted by a discussion with two members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission.

While much of the conference focused on government assisted multifamily housing, a number of panels and presentations dealt with other topics.  I was invited to serve on a panel discussing cooperatives as a tool for housing and social enterprise.  My fellow panelists included the Interim President and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association and a representative from the Rural Development Program of United States Department of Agriculture.

Among the many things I learned from my participation in this panel:

  • All of us deal with cooperatives on a daily basis.  Many businesses (and many, if not all credit unions) are cooperatives.
  • There are many states that have no statutes or laws governing resident owned housing cooperatives.
  • Finally, 2012 is the International Year of Cooperatives!  Who knew?

Our resident owned manufactured housing cooperatives have a reason to celebrate in 2012!