Chapter 1The HAND Charge
The path forward to create an equitable region will require all of us to work together across jurisdiction lines and industry sectors, and an understanding that each of our communities are deeply connected. What happens in Prince George’s County has impacts in DC, and circumstances in Fairfax County have reverberations in Montgomery County. Taking a united stance when the District is treated as a territory instead of a state, and deprived of millions of dollars in federal funding. Sharing the responsibility of supporting our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Celebrating successful funding strategies emerging from one jurisdiction, and modeling them in other jurisdictions. We are much stronger when we stand with each other. When we partner, we tap into the innovation and expertise needed to create better outcomes for all of our neighbors. Simply put, regional challenges require regional solutions.
As a cross-sector collective of changemakers whose collaboration brings thriving communities to fruition in the Capital Region, HAND’s membership is at the table doing this important work, and is poised for the challenges in front of us. With a footprint spanning Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, our members represent a diverse mix of over 450 organizations working across 20+ sectors to support the development and preservation of affordable housing.
Holding Ourselves Accountable. To build a better future, we must have a comprehensive understanding of the present. Our vision for the HIT is to provide on an annual basis, the most up-to-date data on housing production across the region. The tool serves as a key resource to ALL HAND members as they make critical decisions on where to target development, how to approach funding and if other strategies should be explored to increase the supply of affordable housing. The tool is intended to be a resource for the region that monitors how affordable housing policies and tools are making a difference in the housing landscape of our local communities.
We are all in this together. In a large metropolitan area like ours, housing is a regional asset. Our local communities, neighborhoods, and even individual blocks are interconnected with the collective pulse of the region. From where we work, to where we play and celebrate, to where we grow, connect, and worship; communities in the region rely on one another to meet the needs of our residents. While this cohesiveness brings many positive elements to our lives here, it can also create challenges. The need for more affordable housing is a uniform need, across jurisdictional lines, and it confronts us as a region, not as individual localities. While it is a regional threat, we must acknowledge that meeting this challenge will vary widely by community. Each jurisdiction in the region is at a different moment in their own affordable housing journey. This is to be expected, and it is something that can be useful for learning and growing together. The HIT is intended to provide a window into how communities are addressing these housing challenges, and how and where progress is being made. It is a dashboard of our individual, yet collective efforts to make the region an inclusive place with housing options for all who want to live here.