February 5, 2007
Notes from Jane Kolleeny, Senior Editor
I recently spent the day stuck in a dreary basement meeting room in a hotel in Georgetown. What would normally be considered miserable conditions became quite animated by the engaged group of over 100 developers, representatives of nonprofits and government housing organizations, academics, architects, and family members of Donald Terner, who assembled to honor the winners of the Donald Terner award and discuss innovation in affordable housing. Don Terner, a visionary and leader in low-income housing, tragically lost his life 10 years ago while in Bosnia on a humanitarian mission. To commemorate his death and inspire projects that best exemplify his spirit and commitment to affordable housing, the Center for Community Innovation in Berkeley created this symposium and biannual award.
What became inspiring as the day progressed was the degree of commitment and level of drive among this disparate group of individuals, who share a deep interest in bettering our society by providing housing to less fortunate populations. While ideas like workforce housing, CDC’s, Hope 6, SRO’s, inclusionary housing, and housing for the chronically homeless were bantered around, the underlying tenor in the room was one of a deeply moving will and drive to do what it takes to overcome high levels of policy and red tape to make real the simple comforts of having a home to those historically ignored by society.