On November 2, 2011, the National Building Museum welcomed 500 attendees to How Housing Matters, an innovative, day-long symposium, supported by a generous gift of from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The program built on the MacArthur Foundation’s five-year, twenty-five million dollar How Housing Matters initiative, as well as on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) strategic initiative exploring housing as a platform for education, health, and economic opportunity.
The conference took as its starting point the simple statement that housing plays a significant role in areas outside the issue of shelter. Access to secure and affordable housing affects children’s education, employment opportunities, physical and mental health, and long-term neighborhood development. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, the conference presented new research and insight, as well as three best practice case studies from across the U.S. These new publications were produced in collaboration with the Center for Housing Policy.
Keynote presentations included a moderated discussion with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius. Attendees represented a broad spectrum of policymakers and practitioners, including affordable housing providers, municipal agencies, and federal agencies, as well as architects, planners, and designers. With a range of substantive sessions on intersecting topics, the audience came away with a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of affordable housing and how it impacts people’s lives.
The How Housing Matters conference is a project of the National Building Museum in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Office of Policy Development & Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.