Our annual event was held this year on May 26, 2011 at the Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. Two-hundred affordable housing leaders spent the day hearing from an insightful keynote speaker, participating in a provocative policy debate and honoring six “heroes among us” who have made a profound impact in the affordable housing field.

The day began with a keynote address from Former Speaker of the Assembly, Robert Hertzberg. As the current co-chair of California Forward, a non-partisan non-profit working to fix state government and restore the California Dream, Hertzberg spoke eloquently about winning the long-term fight to permanently fund affordable housing and encouraged our community to not focus solely on the short-term redevelopment fight. As he held up a copy of a recent Supreme Court decision dealing with release of prisoners from California prisons, he reminded the group that our issue is important but it is one of many that elected officials are dealing with and he encouraged us to continue to tell the important story of affordable housing.

As the statewide big tent organization for affordable housing, we strive to provide a forum for provocative ideas to be discussed and debated in the hopes of reaching common ground. In keeping with that mission, we had a thought-provoking debate around the notion that the various state and local housing agencies should be consolidated into one large agency, a Comprehensive Housing Funder, that controls all housing resources. The debate highlighted the difficulties we face in funding affordable housing in California. As the debate concluded, it was obvious that something needs to change to ensure the future viability of the industry.

Our panel, moderated by David Smith, CEO of Recap Real Estate Advisors, included Cynthia Parker of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, Lynn Jacobs former HCD Director, Doug Shoemaker of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Jim Silverwood of Affirmed Housing.

Finally, we had the privilege of honoring a distinguished group of inductees into the California Housing Hall of Fame. To be inducted, an individual or organization must demonstrate a substantial contribution toward advancing the cause of affordable housing in California. This year we were pleased to recognize the following affordable housing industry all-stars:

Private Sector: Jim Silverwood of Affirmed Housing

Nonprofit Sector: Ken Sauder of Wakeland Housing

Public Sector: Senator Mark DeSaulnier

Lifetime Achievement Award: Christine Minnehan and Maureen Higgins

We also presented a surprise Outstanding Industry Leadership Award to Dianne Spaulding of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California for her tireless work to keep affordable housing at the forefront of the redevelopment crisis.

The success of our event would not be possible without our great group of sponsors. We sincerely appreciate your support and look forward to having you all back next year!

Breakfast Sponsor: Wells Fargo

Debate Sponsor: Union Bank

Luncheon Sponsor: AmCal Multi-Housing, Inc.

Table Sponsors: Chase, Citi Community Capital, Bank of America, BRIDGE Housing Corp, Jamboree, NPH, Novogradac & Co., Mid-Pen Housing, Related, California Community Reinvestment Corporation, Wakeland Housing & Development, Eden Housing, USA Properties Fund, Reznick Group, Redstone Equity Partners, Affirmed Housing, National CORE, Fannie Mae and NHC.