WHF-PA recently hosted an informative panel discussion at the Pennsylvania Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities Conference out in Valley Forge. The session focused on the opportunities and challenges of developing affordable housing in suburban locations. Moderated by WHF-PA Steering member, Jaque Camp (Wallace, Roberts & Todd and a member of the King of Prussia Planning Commission), the panel consisted of Lopa Kolluri (Pennrose Development Company) and Nannette Livadas (Mercer County Housing Authority).
Their backgrounds complemented one another by providing both a macro and micro level perspective on the issue.
Given Lopa’s experience in the public sector prior to coming to Pennrose, she gave a historical overview of the federal housing policies which shaped development such as Section 8, Choice Neighborhoods, and Moving to Work. She then shifted to speak about current policies including the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule which will impact development especially in suburbs moving forward.
In contrast, Nanette shared experience on the ground in Mercer County.
She spoke about the challenges in attracting investors and the need for new types of housing including duplexes and scattered site units. She also spoke about a larger policy issue where supply does not match demand out in more rural /suburban areas.
Jaque concluded the session by reminding us that trends today show that suburbs are at a point of transition. For once, young professionals are choosing to live in denser, urban places instead of the suburbs. In order to compete, suburbs have to rethink some of their old practices by addressing new needs by creating transit oriented development overlays, increasing density and redeveloping office parks.
The session concluded with happy hour sponsored by Diamond & Associates.