February 12, 2013

New Washington Area Affordable Housing Communications Network Formed

Sharing the benefits of affordable housing success stories is soon to be reality. 

The Communication Action Network
(CAN) of Greater Washington seeks to
share news that demonstrates how quality,
 affordable workforce/housing contributes
to our communities and economy.
There’s been a longstanding need in the Washington region for an area-wide cooperative effort to communicate on important affordable/workforce housing issues. Now, thanks to a United Way grant, BB&T Community Development Banking and three Washington area affordable/workforce housing non-profit organizations have taken the lead in the communications arena by forming the Communication Action Network (CAN). These organizations are the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development in Washington DC, the Washington Area Housing Association of Non Profit Developers (HAND) and the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA).  Just FYI — VHDA is a longstanding sponsor of both HAND and NVAHA.

With support from business, community organizations and individuals, CAN is preparing to share on a variety of platforms news that demonstrates how quality affordable/workforce housing contributes to our communities and economy, with a goal of creating an environment of acceptance for producing and preserving the housing that sustains communities. In addition, CAN is also  maintaining an online calendar of affordable housing events, pertinent legislative timetables and key meetings, as well as an online library of current research and a wide variety of other affordable/workforce housing information.

CAN will be under the direction of Laura Nickle, president of Communi-k, Inc., a Falls Church-based company with more than 26 years of public relations and community organizing experience. Laura is well known in the region for her outstanding media and communications work, much of which has been centered around affordable housing. To pursue a mix of traditional and contemporary news media, and engage a broad base of interested parties in housing and community development issues, CAN will operate as a collaborative. The organization’s goal is to use its regional scope to play an active role in enhancing the efforts of existing local organizations, as well as to share examples of success and best practices to a wider audience. Key committees have been formed on an ongoing basis to involve members and keep efforts fresh and timely. VHDA will be an active participant in CAN, as we work to help meet the affordable housing financing needs of agency partners and communities in Northern Virginia.

Upcoming events

CAN is currently planning the CAN Parade of Affordable Homes on Saturday, May 18. This is a region-wide open house in which participating communities from each jurisdiction in the Washington metro area will open their communities to the public and the press.

Get involved

The organization currently is 140 members strong and growing!  If your agency or organization is based in Northern Virginia and would like to become active in the Communication Action Network, contact Laura Nickle at commui-k@cox.net. Look for more info and updates as CAN moves forward and goes live.

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