Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Hats" off to These Folks

MaryAnn Russ, DHA President
and CEO, and MDHA Board Member
Yesterday, I attended the 2014 HATS: Housing Authorities of Texas Symposium held by MDHA Corporate Champion, Strasburger & Price.
The sessions were very informative. It was fascinating to see how many areas of extremely specialized knowledge exist in the area of housing. It was a great opportunity to educate folks about our own specialized area of expertise.

The session led by MDHA's board member and President and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority, MaryAnn Russ, was of particular interest. She spoke on "The Power of Public Housing Authorities: How to Address Homelessness in Your Community". As a reader of this blog you already know how instrumental DHA has been in alleviating homelessness in our community.

It was great to see MaryAnn educate folks from other housing authorities on how they can follow DHA’s example. Strasburger made a $100 donation in MaryAnn's honor too! (Stay tuned for another blog post soon with MaryAnn’s tips for housing authorities on how they can help those experiencing homelessness.)

It was also great to hear first-hand from one of the speakers, Matt Marchant, how he and fellow Strasburger attorney, Monica Velasquez, won a motion in court this last Friday, on behalf of City House, in the lawsuit brought against them by a Frisco based HOA. It was an honor to meet both of these folks, who are helping the “good guys.”

The keynote was given by Vanessa Sarria, Executive Director of the Austin-based Community Advancement Network (CAN). Her address, "Our Communities are Changing. Are We?" was not only eye-opening about upward mobility or lack thereof in our communities, but also included important calls for action in this area. Like MDHA, the focus of her organization, is to encourage and spearhead systemic solutions to community challenges.

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