July 31, 2012

Deutsche Bank announces affordable housing competition at conference

Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation hosted a conference at 60 Wall Street address the need for innovation in affordable housing on July 17, 2012. The Foundation also announced a design competition that would award $250,000 in low-interest capital to build an innovative affordable housing model.

Titled “Lowering the Cost to Develop and Sustain Affordable Housing,” the conference was co-hosted by Enterprise Community Partners, one of the nation’s largest affordable housing development nonprofits. Leaders from the affordable housing development, finance, design and policy sectors around the country gathered to take part in the one day convening, which kicked off Enterprises’ Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute.

The conference was conceived to identify new approaches to drive down the cost of developing and sustaining affordable housing in the wake of the economic downturn. Regulatory barriers and rising physical costs have resulted in decreasing availability of low-income housing, even as demand continually grows.

Gary Hattem, President of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Managing Director of the Community Development Finance Group, and Terri Ludwig, President and CEO of Enterprise, welcomed the attendees and framed the issue at hand.

“The economic crisis has had a profound impact on housing availability and cost, especially for our lowest income families,” said Hattem. “We now have more than 17% of all American households spending more than 50% of their income on housing. The demand for affordable rental housing has never been greater.”

Ludwig urged participants to explore the potential for cross-sector cooperation in order to maximize the impact of their work.

 “This issue is so big and cuts across so many boundaries that we need to see people collaborating outside of their traditional groups, whether its public-private, design and legal, or finance and policy.  I challenge everyone to put narrower interests aside and recognize that progress depends on a systemic approach,” said Ludwig.

The conference featured a unique format designed to encourage collective action. Instead of talks, panels briefly introduced the topics of conversation and were followed by group working sessions in which collaborative discussions were encouraged in order to generate fresh ideas. The topics covered were “Inefficiencies in the Affordable Housing System”; “Alternative Construction Approaches”; and “New Approaches to Affordable Housing without Subsidy.” At the end of each round, groups were asked to share mutual commitments in affordable housing reformation that they will pursue over the 18-24 months. Enterprise and Deutsche Bank will facilitate collaboration through a website and ongoing meeting, communication and monitoring of the efforts. 

At the convening’s conclusion, Hattem announced that Deutsche Bank will hold a competition for innovative designs for building cost-efficient housing. Deutsche Bank has committed $250,000 in low-interest debt capital to aid construction of the winning proposal and additionally, along with Enterprise, is planning to raise a $100,000 grant for the winner of an additional policy competition.

To learn more about the conference, please click here.

For more information on the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, click here.


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