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HIT Counsel George Weidenfeller, Chair-Elect of the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, speaks at the Forum’s 2018 Annual Conference


Washington, DC - On May 23 - 25, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) Counsel George Weidenfeller was a leading panelist and moderator at this year’s ABA Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. As Chair-Elect of the Forum, and former Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD), George presented the Forum’s welcoming remarks on the conference’s opening day at the HUD building in Washington, DC. The Forum’s annual conference was attended by approximately 500 attorneys from around the country representing the government, lenders, developers, owners, and managers of housing financed through HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and State housing finance agencies. The ABA Forum has 5,000 members nationally. The 2018 conference included the HUD Secretary Ben Carson, HUD General Counsel Paul Compton, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Anna Marie Farias, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Neal Ratcliff, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Lemar Seats.

“This year’s conference was unique in a number of ways,” said Mr. Weidenfeller. “On the first day, the HUD General Counsel addressed attorneys who regularly practice in the field of affordable housing and community development. That was followed by three separate hour long round table discussions with the three senior HUD program counsel for Assisted Housing and Community Development, Fair Housing and Insured Housing, and representatives of the private bar.”

On Thursday, May 24th, the General Counsel and HUD program leadership discussed the extension of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, disaster assistance, fair housing, and multifamily matters. Mr. Weidenfeller moderated the panel on Hot Topics within HUD/FHA Multifamily with Robert Iber, Acting HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily; Christine Chandler, Vice President at M & T Bank; Schuyler Armstrong, Associate at Katten Muchin; and LaFonte Nesbitt, General Counsel at Love Funding.

“In addition to HUD priorities and suggestions for improving the HUD/FHA closing process, the Multifamily panel addressed age requirements for HUD/FHA projects and the split wage decisions affecting Davis-Bacon wage determinations,” said Mr. Weidenfeller. “This year’s forum also focused on the newly enacted Opportunity Zones. Regulations for Opportunity Zones are still being developed but the program has potential to assist in the financing of complex affordable and mixed income projects, including the rehabilitation of public housing projects, such as the Mary Ellen McCormick project in Boston.”

The Forum also gave special recognition to the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Former HUD Associate General Counsel for Assisted Housing and Community, Robert S. Kenison, was awarded the Forum’s 2018 Michael Scher Award, in recognition of his many years of committed and dedicated counsel.

To learn more about the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Annual Meeting 2018 please visit the American Bar Association.