Letter from the CEO
A Sincere Message to Residents, Partners, Supporters, and Staff
It is with great sadness that we at The NHP Foundation are once again observing the ugly result of racism and social injustice in America. The National Housing Partnership, our predecessor company, was chartered by Congress in direct response to the urban riots that began in Detroit in 1967 and spread to other cities across the country. Among the reasons given for the “urban unrest” at that time are familiar sounding themes today: police abuse, lack of affordable housing, and economic inequality. So here we are, over 50 years later, facing the same issues. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and all the other victims of injustice.
As developers of housing for low to middle income families and seniors, our residents are almost all minority, with a large percentage of them African Americans. These families struggle daily not only with racism in its most obvious form, but also the more subtle societal barriers such as poor education, inadequate health care and a lack of good jobs. We are proud of our more than 10,000 residents who seek better lives for themselves and their families. We have a core belief that our mission is not just to provide clean, safe, affordable housing, but to also offer our residents an array of programs to improve the quality of their lives.
Society must come to grips with the needs of oppressed people who continue to suffer. We all know that there are people of all colors, political beliefs and religions who find the current situation abhorrent. That includes many members of the police who regularly work with our residents to improve their safety. But unfortunately, not all are tolerant of those who are different, particularly people of color, and who are also among the most vulnerable to economic hardship in the midst of the current pandemic.
There are no easy solutions to these problems, but after 50 years of little progress, we have to work harder to find ways to eliminate racism in this country, or we will continue to pay the price – not only economically but more importantly, the continued tearing of our social fabric. Politicians, as usually happens in time of social unrest, are making promises of improvement. Let’s not let history repeat itself. There are housing bills in Congress that can substantially increase the amount of affordable housing, and there are funders who must once again prioritize donations to companion housing services to improve education, health, safety and job training. And of great importance in this time of injustice, better policing for all, not just some.
The NHP Foundation joins all those who oppose racism in any form and supports an increase of programs that will improve the lives of people in greatest need.
Richard F. Burns, Richard F. Burns
NHPF President & Chief Executive Officer & CEO