June 1, 2005
Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University
Chambers of commerce can play an important role in addressing workforce housing needs. Indeed, many of them are doing so --- particularly in communities in which high housing costs add to the cost of doing business. The initiatives undertaken by such chambers could benefit from the involvement of housing professionals. For their part, housing professionals could usefully solicit the involvement of the local business community, broadening the base of support for workforce housing initiatives. In September 2004, the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University and the Center for Workforce Preparation (CWP) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convened Making the Connection... Housing and Workforce Development: A National Leadership Forum, a national leadership forum of business, chamber, and housing executives. This groundbreaking forum, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Housing Endowment, provided an opportunity for these groups to consider the obstacles to collaboration between members of the housing and business communities, discuss what has worked at the local level to overcome such obstacles, and share ideas regarding how collaboration could be promoted going forward. Throughout the discussion, one theme that resounded strongly was that chambers can play a critical role in helping to get local efforts off the ground and supporting such efforts. This report summarizes the Forum and includes the proposed action agenda.
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