Affordable housing is one of the largest challenges facing the Washington Region, but it is traditionally viewed as a siloed responsibility of local municipalities and developers. That is short-sighted and perhaps outdated thinking.
Our colleges and universities, as the largest collective non-Federal employers in the region, are deeply concerned with the issue as well as the needs of our students. The presidents of our Consortium institutions have discussed the issue many times and charged our Consortium with looking for innovative approaches to the issue that would allow us to serve our constituents and the larger equity goals of our community.
I am deeply grateful to the Amazon Housing Equity Fund for stepping in to subsidize that work and for the expertise of the faculty at the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship within Consortium member George Mason University’s School of Business. Their executive director, Eric Maribojoc, proposed this landmark study of approaches for higher education to address affordable housing. The result of months of intensive research is a range of ways that colleges and universities can expand access through investment, use of land, and bold partnerships. The work highlights the potential of such efforts as partnerships among funding from local, regional, and national jurisdictions, financial institutions, and philanthropy.
The findings indicate that our higher education and cultural institutions may be ideal partners for helping us address the need for affordable housing. Ideally, this wonderful report is a platform to initiate conversations about new collaboration across our region.
President and CEO
Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area