Reducing Federal Deficits: It’s Time for Housing Finance Reform

Thursday, March 21, 2013 — 1:30 p.m.−2:45 p.m.   

Reducing Federal Deficits: It’s Time for Housing Finance Reform
As Congress debates a variety of proposals to reduce U.S. debt and deficits, popular real estate programs like MID, FHA, and GSEs find themselves on the negotiating table. According to a recent study by Smart Growth America, the federal government spends or commits approximately $450 billion annually to such programs. Join a discussion about how key policy reforms and recommendations can reduce this enormous price tag and align public policy to meet market demands for housing in walkable, sustainable developments across the country.

Additional Session Resources:

Speaker Biographies

Christopher Coes, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors (moderator)
Christopher Coes is the managing director for LOCUS, a national network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable development. In this role, he leads LOCUS strategic initiatives to further the network’s public policy agenda, as well as provides technical assistance to advance smart growth real estate projects across the country.

Prior to joining LOCUS, Coes served as a consultant for government affairs and campaigns at M+R Strategic Services. As a consultant, he worked with various clients including Transportation for America—a broad, diverse, and unprecedented coalition advocating for a national vision for a 21st-century transportation system. For nearly three years, Coes served as Transportation for America’s senior campaign adviser and deputy director, where he was responsible for operations and served as the campaign’s chief political strategist. In addition to his work on transportation and real estate issues, Coes brings more than seven years of experience in government relations, political advocacy, and electoral campaigns. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for Capital Cause—a Washington, D.C.−based young philanthropist organization—and is an active member of Urban Land Institute.

Coes received a BA and an MA in government and politics from St. John’s University, specializing in public administration and international relations.

Dennis Allen, ZRZ Realty Inc.
Dennis Allen is the director of acquisitions and development for the Zidell Yards, a 33-acre industrial shipyard on the waterfront in downtown Portland, Oregon. One of the most exciting transit-oriented development projects in the United States, Zidell Yards is one of 18 international projects selected by the Clinton Climate Initiative for their Climate Positive development program.

Allen has held leadership positions for development companies Urban One and the Kor Group in Los Angeles. He has more than 15 years of real estate finance and development experience and has managed the financing, entitlement, and construction of more than 1 million square feet of residential, retail, and office development, with values in excess of $500 million. Allen was also the founder and executive director of Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., a nonprofit formed to build a modern-day streetcar system in downtown Los Angeles. He is a leader in the smart growth movement and travels nationally to speak on the benefits of compact urban development.

Allen is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He has taught real estate investment and development classes at UCLA Extension, is actively involved with the Urban Land Institute, and is a steering committee member for LOCUS, a national network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable development. Allen also sits on the board of directors for both Los Angeles Streetcar and Portland Streetcar. He lives in Portland with his wife and two children.

John Hempelmann, Cairncross & Hempelmann
John Hempelmann is one of the founding partners and the chairman of Cairncross & Hempelmann, a full-service Seattle law firm. He has more than 40 years of experience as a land use, natural resources, and real estate development attorney. He has worked extensively to help form the legislation that governs Washington’s land use law. Hempelmann assists clients with real estate development projects, including their land use, zoning and environmental matters, and natural resource permit processes. A major focus of his work is transit-oriented development projects in the central Puget Sound region.

John K. McIlwain, ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing
John McIlwain is the Senior Resident Fellow/J. Ronald Terwilliger Chair for Housing at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, D.C. An author, speaker, and former lawyer, McIlwain has more than 35 years of experience in the fields of housing, housing investment, and the development of sustainable housing. His responsibilities include helping develop ULI’s research efforts to seek and promote affordable housing solutions in the United States and other nations, including development and housing patterns designed to create sustainable future environments for urban areas.

Prior to joining the ULI staff, McIlwain founded and served as senior managing director of the American Communities Fund for Fannie Mae in Washington. The American Communities Fund is a venture fund founded by Fannie Mae dedicated to investing in hard-to-finance affordable housing. In this capacity, he was responsible for structuring, underwriting, and closing equity investments in more than $700 million of residential and neighborhood retail developments in lower-income communities around the country. Before taking that position, he was president and chief executive officer of the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Prior to joining Fannie Mae, McIlwain was the managing partner of the Washington law offices of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer, and Murphy, where he represented a broad range of clients in the single-family and multifamily housing areas. McIlwain also served as executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He began his career in housing as assistant director for finance and administration, and deputy director of the Maine State Housing Authority.

McIlwain is the immediate past chairman of the Center for Housing Policy and serves on the board of directors of the Community Preservation and Development Corporation, the advisory board of the Greenline Community Development Fund, and the editorial board of the TOD Line—the NY & CT Transit-Oriented Development Newsletter. McIlwain is a past president of the National Housing Conference, an umbrella organization in Washington for low-income and affordable housing issues. He is also a past president of the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association.

McIlwain received a law degree from New York University, where he worked for the NYU Law Review and was a John Norton Pomeroy Scholar. He received a BA, cum laude, from Princeton University.

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