NLIHC held its 36th Annual Leadership Awards Reception on March 20 in Washington, DC, honoring Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) with the Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award, Dr. Matthew Desmond with the inaugural Sheila Crowley Housing Justice Award, and Lisa Hasegawa with the Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award.
The Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award, named for the late Senator Brooke (R-MA) who championed low income housing as a U.S. senator and as chair of the NLIHC board of directors after he left the Senate, goes to an exemplary housing leader with a record of fighting for affordable housing on the national level. NLIHC honored Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) with the 2018 Brooke Award for her commitment to addressing the housing needs of the lowest income people in the U.S. and her steadfast support for federal affordable housing and homelessness programs.
Greg Payne, executive director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and NLIHC board chair introduced Senator Collins and spoke about her tireless leadership in the Senate in support of programs that ensure low income households have decent, safe, affordable housing. After accepting the award, Senator Collins spoke about the need to ensure every American, including veterans, has a decent, safe and affordable place to call home. Senators Collins cited NLIHC’s The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes report about the shortage of affordable housing in America and emphasized that an affordable and stable home was foundational to family wellbeing and the success of children.
The Sheila Crowley Housing Justice Award is named for former NLIHC President & CEO Sheila Crowley. The Crowley award goes to an outstanding leader who has elevated the conversation around affordable housing for the lowest income people in America. NLIHC presented the inaugural Crowley award to Dr. Matthew Desmond, MacArthur Genius Awardee and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Dr. Desmond was provided the award for his groundbreaking book and other work to raise public and policy-maker awareness about the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. and for calling for bold solutions.
Daisy Franklin, vice president of the Public Housing Resident Network of Connecticut and NLIHC board member, honored Dr. Desmond with words about his outstanding research, authorship, and other awareness-raising efforts about the causes and effects of evictions and housing poverty.
In his acceptance video, Dr. Desmond spoke about Dr. Crowley’s lifetime of work fighting to ensure the poorest households in the U.S. have access to affordable homes and serving domestic violence survivors and the homeless. He expressed deep gratitude to NLIHC for bestowing him the first-ever Crowley Award. Dr. Desmond spoke about the centrality of affordable housing to every aspect of a family’s life, his work at the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, and his hope that his efforts will help bring about policy solutions.
The Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award, named after NLIHC’s late founder, goes to an individual who has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to achieving safe, decent, and affordable homes for low income people. NLIHC presented the 2018 Dolbeare award to Lisa Hasegawa, former executive director of the National Coalition for Asian and Pacific American Community Development and former NLIHC board member. Ms. Hasegawa received the honor for her years of dedication to affordable housing on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and all low income households.
Moises Loza, former executive director of the Housing Assistance Council and NLIHC board member, introduced Ms. Hasegawa and remarked that her leadership was the embodiment of Cushing Dolbeare’s legacy. Upon receiving the award, Ms. Hasegawa spoke about the importance of addressing the affordable housing needs of low income AAPIs and emphasized the need to continue striving for racial justice in America, including for AAPIs.
NLIHC is grateful to all of this year’s Leadership Award Reception donors. A full list can be found at: http://nlihc.org/events/leadership