Community Change and Ford Foundation Launch Housing Playbook Project to Urge Bold Federal Response to Housing Crisis

by Tarah Walsh | September 1, 2020 6:00 am



FOR RELEASE: September 1, 2020

Contact: Domenica Ghanem,, 609-457-5663


Community Change and Ford Foundation Launch Housing Playbook Project to Urge Bold Federal Response to Housing Crisis

Maria Torres-Springer, Dorian Warren and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro to Co-Chair Cross-Sector Advisory Committee 

WASHINGTON, DC (September 1, 2020) – More Americans than ever, in every corner of the country, may be forced from their home in the coming months. Today, Community Change, with support from the Ford Foundation, announced the launch of the Housing Playbook Project to reimagine the federal response to our nation’s current and future housing challenges. The effort will be co-chaired by Dorian Warren of Community Change, Maria Torres-Springer of the Ford Foundation, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro. 

The project will bring together housing policy ideas from leaders across the country, prioritizing those advocates who have been housing insecure themselves. Advocates and community members nationwide can submit their ideas to transform housing at

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in the United States and threatens to leave millions of families homeless or housing insecure. But this problem is not new — safe and affordable housing has been denied to many of us, especially Black and brown families, for decades. It is time for federal housing policy to put people first. 

“Housing is a basic need whether we’re in a pandemic or in boom times. And it affects so much more in our life than where we sleep at night — it’s the neighborhood where our children grow up and go to school, where we can be close to jobs that put food on the table, where our elders can get the care they need. The federal government can play an essential role in implementing policies that ensure that everyone has housing they can count on,” Community Change President Dorian Warren said.

To do so requires a playbook that not only identifies a robust housing agenda centered on racial equity and opportunity, but also draws upon a clear understanding of the necessary policy reforms and the mechanisms with which to make them. The Housing Playbook Project will prepare detailed recommended actions that future administrations could take to advance a bold housing agenda within the first 100 to 200 days of the term. These nonpartisan recommendations will seek to translate the big ideas into tangible, prioritized actions.

“The ongoing devastating impacts of COVID-19 highlight the deep inequities in our communities and how essential housing is for health and well-being,” said Maria Torres-Springer, vice president for U.S. programs at the Ford Foundation. “No matter what the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election, we need a transformative federal housing agenda that puts people first and that’s why we’re pleased to collaborate with Community Change on this effort.”

Community Change is also announcing the appointment of Lynn Ross as Senior Fellow for the Housing Playbook Project. Ross, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at HUD, is the founder and principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works nationally and across sectors with organizations on a mission to create and sustain equitable policies, practices and places. “Lynn is a well-respected leader in housing and urbanism who comes to this work not only with that deep expertise, but also a clear understanding of the importance of amplifying community voices in equity-centered policy making,” said Dorian Warren, president of Community Change.

The Housing Playbook Project is guided by an advisory committee co-chaired by Torres-Springer, Warren, and Castro. Members of the advisory committee represent a diverse coalition of leaders with expertise in organizing and advocacy, housing, health, education, economics, and public policy:


  • Layla Avila, CEO/Executive Director, Education Leaders of Color, Inc.
  • Don Chen, President, Surdna Foundation
  • Christopher Coes, Vice President, Smart Growth America and Director, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors
  • Xavier de Souza Briggs, Visiting Professor, New York University and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Stephanie Gidigbi, Director of Policy and Partnership, NRDC
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence, PolicyLink
  • Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, Founder and Principal, Big Urban Problem Solving Consulting
  • David Lipsetz, President and CEO, Housing Assistance Council
  • Marion McFadden, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Resilience, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Theodore Miller, Director, HOPE SF
  • Amanda Misiko Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness
  • Andreanecia Morris, Executive Director, Housing NOLA
  • Katherine M. O’Regan, Professor of Public Policy, New York University
  • Tara Raghuveer, Homes Guarantee Campaign Director, People’s Action
  • Michael Roberts, President and CEO, First Nations Development Institute
  • Megan Sandel, MD MPH, Boston Medical Center
  • Erica Smiley, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
  • Felicia Wong, President and CEO, Roosevelt Institute
  • Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition


About Community Change 

Community Change is a national social justice organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive. 

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

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