TAC Cofounder Ann O’Hara Honored
At its annual Housing Leadership Awards Celebration last month, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) presented Ann O’Hara with its Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award in recognition of her decades of affordable housing advocacy as a public housing authority director, Section 8 administrator, state housing official, and NLIHC board member — and as a cofounder of the Technical Assistance Collaborative!
After years of effective local and state advocacy to expand affordable housing options for marginalized individuals and families, Ann and her husband Steve Day, together with colleague Martin D. Cohen, joined to launch TAC in 1993 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Over more than two decades at TAC, Ann helped 20 states and hundreds of localities to expand affordable and permanent supportive housing. With funding from the Melville Charitable Trust, she partnered with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen to obtain more than 80,000 new HUD rental subsidies for people with disabilities. Working with then-Congressmembers Barney Frank and Christopher Murphy, Senator Robert Menendez, and CCD, Ann led efforts to modernize HUD’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program through the enactment of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she led the effort to create 3,000 new permanent supportive housing opportunities in Louisiana.
At the awards event last month, friends and colleagues shared their warm appreciation for Ann’s leadership, vision, and friendship over many years. And on behalf of those of us working now at the TAC she helped to build, Executive Director Kevin Martone summed it up: “It is an honor to have worked for you, and for TAC to carry on your legacy.”
A High-Energy Effort to Boost Landlord Engagement in Rhode Island
TAC affiliate Naomi Sweitzer, together with Jessica Lurz from Abt Associates, is working with the State of Rhode Island on a strategy to rehouse 180 households from non-congregate shelter before pandemic-related FEMA funds run out. To help provide housing for the households, the team launched a “landlord challenge,” with cash incentives for landlords to rent units specifically to this population. Naomi and Jessica helped state partners plan funding for the program; update the incentive amounts from an earlier iteration of the program; and craft materials for outreach and the press. The team worked with Governor Dan McKee’s office to launch the challenge. In May, a successful press event with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor helped bring in hundreds of calls from interested landlords.
TAC Staff in Action
Senior Associate Jordan Gulley facilitated a webinar on “Implementing Effective Medicaid Supported Mobile Crisis Services” in coordination with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, and the National Association of Medicaid Directors; at the annual Executive Seminar of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Executive Director Kevin Martone joined a panel on “’In the Most Integrated Setting’ — The Pathway to a New NYS Olmstead Plan”; Director Sherry Lerch & Senior Associate Rachel Post led a webinar on “Funding Supportive Housing Services for People with Behavioral Health Needs: Key Federal Resources” for the SAMHSA Homeless & Housing Resource Center; and Sherry and Senior Associate Alicia Woodsby worked with the Washington State Health Care Authority on developing the newly launched online Discharge Planner’s Toolkit to facilitate coordination between the state’s behavioral health crisis stabilization organizations and networks of housing and service providers.