By Amoi Geter
Using housing issues as a platform for discussion, the inaugural Birmingham Housing Summit convened to focus on three key areas to help grow Birmingham.
“Today is the first day of a conversation with the larger community to talk about housing as a bridge and connector to every economic factor in this city,” said Michael Lundy, executive director of the Birmingham Housing Authority. “We are really focused on three goals: community, education and policy, and how they affect housing.”
The summit was the idea of a working group of corporate, housing and development professionals – the Birmingham Housing Committee – who have been meeting regularly over the past 18 months on how best to address the issues affecting housing in Birmingham.
The result was a one-day workshop facilitated by nationally recognized housing and development expert Orlando Cabrera, CEO of National Community Renaissance. Cabrera has worked to improve communities and cities across the U.S. and says that revitalization, growth and prosperity require cross-sector collaboration. He believes taking best-practices from cities similar to Birmingham is an important first step.
“What I would like to see for the community is that the folks who are convened today have really committed their time and a significant chunk of it, come out with a plan to decide what’s next,” Cabrera said. “So that’s generally the outcome one would want. Here’s what we are committed to: We know it’s going to take a long time, here are the next steps and let’s reconvene and figure out how we are doing on that critical path.”