This Black History Month, we highlight Leaders in Housing and Development.

Black History Month traditionally focuses on the achievements of African American leaders of the past. With respect to past leaders, Neighborly Software also wants to recognize leaders making history today in housing policy, advocacy, research and community development.

FAIR HOUSING

Lisa Rice is President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Lisa leads efforts by NFHA and its partners to advance fair housing principles and to preserve and broaden fair housing protections, expanding equal housing opportunities for millions of Americans.

Ms. Rice played a major role in crafting sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and in establishing the Office of Fair Lending within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Prior to becoming President and CEO, she served as NFHA’s Executive Vice President and managed the organization’s resource development, public policy, communications, and enforcement divisions.

Ms. Rice is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Board of Directors, Center for Responsible Lending Board of Directors, JPMorgan Chase Consumer Advisory Council, Mortgage Bankers Association’s Consumer Advisory Council, Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Urban Institute’s Mortgage Servicing Collaborative, and Quicken Loans Consumer Advisory Forum.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Maurice A. Jones was appointed president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. One of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and catalyze economic opportunity for residents.

Maurice previously served as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from April 2012 through January 2014. As the second most senior official at HUD, Maurice managed the Department's day-to-day operations, the annual operating budget of $40 billion and the agency's 8,900 employees.

HOUSING POLICY

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor. She has dedicated her life to public service and are leading political forces on housing affordability and closing the racial homeownership gap.

Also, we can not forget Martin Luther King. While most people are aware of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a Civil Rights Movement leader, fewer are familiar with the role he played in the fair housing movement. He recognized housing and development needs as much as the Civil Rights movement. More than 50 years ago, in the wake of King’s assassination, the Fair Housing Act was passed, outlawing discrimination in this critical area.

With the power of social media we want to raise awareness with our social consciousness. Neighborly Software is thankful for all the work, passion and expertise these leaders provide to advance housing and economic opportunities. We believe that “everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community.”

Today, Black leaders are increasingly focused on helping resolve the seemingly intractable problem of fair housing for communities – that is history in the making!