Non-Profit Seeks To Assist Low-Income Residents With Affordable Housing

CNHED provides housing for D.C.'s low income residents. Photo by Brandon Griggs/Unsplash Images

By Tiffany Hunt, Howard University News Service

The Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) has impacted Ward 4 in the D.C. area, for the past 20 years through helping lower-income families find relief. Current CEO and president Stephen Glaude has currently helped turn around and improve CNHED as an organization and has more plans in store.

CNHED was created 20 years ago when The Coalition of Non-Profit Housing and The Coalition for Economic Development had decided to merge into one organization. Both the coalitions realized that they were providing compatible services, to people in the same area of D.C. CNHED’s mission has also changed since its founding according to Glaude. Glaude believes in living and working with the present, and he also states that “the organization has outlived its mission and needed to change. ”The organization had outlived its mission and needed to change,” he said. The purpose of the organization is to be able to adapt to new situations that are hindering people what are already in need, such as paying their mortgage on time. “What I’m good at is contemporizing an organization’s purpose so it matches the times and conditions that it’s in,” Glaude said.

After four and a half years of working at CNHED, Glaude has indeed shifted the organization by modernizing it and making it more economically lean. Back in 2017 the organization was experiencing economic difficulties after blowing through half of their reserves in 2015 and 2016, but once Glaude came on board the company’s reserves has not been touched, and has tripled their budget in the past two years. Overall, Glaude is working on converting the coalition into a professional trade association. Glaude has come up with ideas that are improving CNHED, by creating a line of business on how to provide solutions for the community, one which is called “In Solution Design”. In Solution Design is a plan where the focus is on not just identifying the problem, but also examining it, and then providing a solution to solve the problem. For instance, In Solution Design was used for a problem that CNHED was having with local landlords, who didn’t want to rent their properties to families with bad credit history.

As a result, CNHED helped create a landlord partnership fund that assists people who can’t  get a lease, to obtain one, and also if they can’t pay their monthly rent or any incidentals, they can apply through this fund to get relief. About 33% of ward four residents make under $50k in household income, and about 4% of ward four residents own a home under $100k. CNHED’s greatest accomplishment, Glaude thinks is the ability to raise the visibility of the organization’s work. “We raise public awareness and built the political will to invest in those who are being left behind and out priced by a rapidly changing economy in D.C.” The future goals for this organization is to determine what future advocacy campaign that must be initiated to open up a foundation for an extended period of time and for low income residents.

Felicia M. Fort, the Vice President, Business Operations talked about how she wasn’t necessarily passionate about housing and economic development, but she had a huge passion for education, which connects to housing. Fort talked about how she loves working directly with people who are in need, and that is the reason why she came to CNHED. “I like work where you actually work with the people, and we don’t do a lot of that, but when we do advocacy work, were actually working with the people,” Fort said. Sarkash before coming to CNHED had a background of working at a trade association, and wasn’t necessarily passionate about it, and also felt she wasn’t using her masters to its full extent. “I wasn’t actually putting it to use that I necessarily, or entirely cared for.” After two years of working at the trade association, Sarkash found CNHED.