icon Blueprint for September


4 min read

We gather together and discuss the essentials for a better later life, the affordable assisted living or resident services or home care that they need. Then a pandemic strikes and we no longer can gather, so we Zoom. One of the eccentricities of meeting (and living) on Zoom is that you no longer just see the faces of your young, energetic colleagues, you also see yourself. And suddenly you can’t help but see—or at least I saw—that the they we’ve been talking about now includes me.

With this issue, I will be hanging up my cleats and opening my treasured spot in the lineup to our new editor, Paul Connolly, as I drift on to those things I always wanted to do (or to write) if only I had the time. This is not an easy perch to fly from. I’ve already delayed my ETD three or four times. As I told Paul when I first met him, this job is a total joy. It’s largely a joy because of the kind of people the affordable housing industry attracts, all of you, devoted, mission-driven folks who are going to find a way to get that project financed and, as recent events have shown, take care of those residents, whatever the obstacles. All businesses are not like that. It’s a privilege to have a good, solid, interesting job that also provides the chance to improve other peoples’ lives. Entombed now as we are in a gilded societal age in which privilege is generally characterized by wealth, we may overlook life’s authentic privilege – helping others.

Another joy of covering the affordable housing and tax credit-driven development sectors is the vast variety of projects, which result in a brimming trove of potential stories, the fuel for any editor’s engine. As a monthly, feature-oriented magazine, we cannot, nor want to, compete with the daily and weekly news publications and sites. Our bailiwick is the model projects, procedures and protocols that our readers can replicate; what I like to call, “Hey yeah stories.” During my time in this lineup, our penchant has been to highlight the new whenever possible. And so I think it is only fitting to exit with an issue devoted to innovation.

For 11 years now, our guru David A. Smith has contributed uber-creative thought to this publication. While most of us see what is, David envisions what can be. Now, in response to the Coronavirus, David and his team at the Affordable Housing Institute have conceived an initiative for Health Secure Housing, a comprehensive approach to making us safe at home. We found this crucial enough to assign our entire writing team to imagine its possibilities – for retrofitting existing buildings, influencing new construction and inspiring urban planning.

Thank you David and our ace team of writers—Mark Olshaker, Mark Fogarty, Scott Beyer and Darryl Hicks—for illuminating this industry and kindling the imaginations of our readers. Thank you to all of you NH&RA members and readers who have shared your time and perspicacious observations to enrich our stories. Thank you to our managing editor Jessica Hoefer, who is the rock this magazine rests on, as well as to our designer Lisa Toji-Blank, who manages to turn primarily black and white pages into things of beauty.

We only have this magazine—and I only had this opportunity—because we have NH&RA. It’s leader, Thom Amdur, is a guru himself, as informed a source on every aspect of this industry as anyone you can turn to for input. And he has a smart, skilled support team beside him now with Kaitlyn Snyder and Brooke Williamson. Thank you all for your wisdom and support.

And, finally, thank you most of all to Peter Bell, whom I watched from afar for 30 years as he passionately and tirelessly built this impressive and important organization from scratch and created this publication before he offered me the gift of joining him for a joyous past 11.

I will miss you all. And maybe I’ll even be able coax the boss into inviting me to join you at one of those fabulous, future, post-pandemic conferences – since we do have a connection.

Paul, you’re up.

Marty Bell