2018 NAWRB Conference Live Updates: SHETalks Sharron P.A. Levine, Dr. Chitra Dorai & Dottie Herman

We kicked off the 2018 NAWRB 5th Annual Conference, “Year of Women,” this morning with three inspiring SHETalks by Sharron P.A. Levine, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA); Dr. Chitra Dorai, Former IBM Fellow and Master Inventor; and Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman. All of these thought leaders and business owners delivered enlightening sound bites of important issues affecting the industry, such as opportunities for women in housing as professionals and consumers, Technology Human Balance and the rules for building a successful business.

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Fun Things to Do in Chicago

While you’re in Chicago for the 2018 NAWRB 5th Annual Conference, make sure to make the most of your time in the Heart of America by checking out the city’s top attractions, shops, restaurants and recreational activities. See below for a list of recommended activities provided by one of the organizations we are collaborating with for this event.

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Millennials Are Delaying Marriage Because They Can’t Afford It

A paper released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that a smaller share of Millennials are getting married, compared to previous generations at their age, due to economic concerns. Labor force participation, wages, poverty and housing costs and living arrangements are strong factors causing young adults aged 18 to 34 to delay marriage.

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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)s Could Help Women Meet Housing Goals

California has the highest poverty rate in the nation and we have an extreme shortage of affordable hosing. Single mothers are at a disadvantage of chosing to work an additional job to be able to afford housing for her family and still provide adequate supervision.

ADUs are small dwelling units on an existing residential property. Recent state policies, passed in 2016, have made it easier for homeowners in L.A. County to construct these additional dwelling units whether they are detached from the home or attached with a separate entrance, or even a garage conversion.

The advantages to having an ADU on your property are numerous: whether for extra rental income, a home office, or as a guest house. If done properly (up to code, enhancing rather than detracting from the aesthetic of your property), ADUs can add value to not only your residence but your life: turning unused space into a value generator.

However, the impact of building an ADU can have for an existing woman homeowner or single mother renter could be even more profound.

For a Home-Based Business

As highlighted in our 2018 Women in the Housing Ecosystem Report, Volume I that focuses on The State of Women’s Homeownership, aside from viewing a home as a secure sanctuary, women seek homeownership as a stable location to build a home-based business. An ADU provides extra space to grow that business, a safe-space to meet clients without having them directly enter into your living space and a location close enough to be super-convenient but separate enough to provide a distraction-free workspace.

An Additional Revenue Stream

There are more working mothers heading up families with children, or single-working mothers as well as women taking care of aging parents. An ADU can provide an additional revenue stream, allowing a woman to better care for children and aging adults without relying on a second income. On a side note, the homeowner could play it forward to help provide a more homebased living arrangement to single mothers. Who knows, maybe their kids would be a perfect playdate or their mother create some mommy time! There is social impact that also offsets financial impact.

Converting a Property to Rent-Controlled Status  

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just approved their own new rules and several cities are in the process or already have their own specifc rules for dwellings. Adding an ADU might trigger rent stabilization because it is no longer considered a single-family residence, even if you are living in the same residence.

Before building an ADU, make sure to check any guidelines or restrictions put out by your city and county. Know your options, do your homework and this includes not only detached and attached additions, but pre-fab units as well.

SBA Announces Joint Initiative with United Technologies Corporation

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released a statement by Administrator Linda McMahon about their new strategic joint initiative with United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a Connecticut-based company. UTC announced that it plans to hire 35,000 new employees, invest $15 billion in the United States over the next five years, and spend $75 billion for its U.S. suppliers, with $19 billion going to small businesses.

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Financial Services Committee Confirms Brian Montgomery as FHA Commissioner

Chairman Jeb Hensarling of the House Financial Services Committee released an official statement confirming the dual appointment of Brian Montgomery as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner and Assistant Secretary for Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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House Passes Dodd-Frank Act Deregulation Reform Bill

The Financial Services Committee announced today that the House of Representatives has passed the ‘Economic Growth Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act,” by a 258-159 vote. The new bill is presented as a “pro-growth financial regulatory reform package,” which features a significant number of rollbacks of Dodd-Frank Act regulations since the financial crisis almost a decade ago.

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The Fight for Women at Art Basel

With a busy schedule you’d need a guidebook to navigate, I never have enough time in the day to connect with everyone I want to. Oftentimes, by the time I remember that I wanted to call a colleague with a quick thought, it’s two in the morning and my puppies are crying for me to come to bed. Once in a while, though, I see something that is riveting.

I recently attended Art Basel 2017 and was deeply impacted by the connections I formed and the beautiful artwork abounding throughout Miami Beach. I had a cathartic experience when my eyes settled on the work of Italian artist El Gato Chimney. My excitement must have been obvious as I was captivated by the color and images in his work.

The painting I fixated on depicts a swan with a community of burning birdhouses on its back. Held down by ropes, and bleeding from its battle, the resolute swan won’t succumb to its restraints and fights to gain its flight and freedom. A different painting similarly portrays a bird with smoking birdhouses on its back, the difference being that this bird and its houses are already airborne.

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From the Netherlands to Washington, D.C. -An NAWRB Intern’s Journey-

In 2016, Marissa de Swart, a young woman from the Netherlands, traveled to the United States to study at Chapman University in sunny Orange, California. Chapman is a distinguished private, non-profit university, and one of only 75 colleges to offer a Peace Studies program. She took two courses in Peace Studies during her time studying abroad, as well as noteworthy courses in leadership and mediation.

Students enrolled in the Peace Studies program address the underlying causes of present international conflict and seek thorough nonviolent solutions. “Peace is not simply the absence of war and the end of conflict,” states the program’s brochure. “Lasting, sustainable peace involves the pursuit of human rights, sustainable development, and social justice.”

This sentiment hearkens to the evocative words Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in a cell at Birmingham City Jail in 1963: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

Women’s economic opportunity and growth is one human rights issue that requires attention in order to achieve gender equality, a necessary component of world peace. NAWRB is on the front lines of this issue—driving collaboration in the housing ecosystem for gender parity and women’s economic growth, and providing women with resources to secure their financial independence.

Wanting to get involved in the women’s movement, and apply the skills she learned in the classroom to the workforce, Marissa interned at NAWRB. She was pivotal in bridging our connections with the Netherland’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and she continued this intermediary role when she returned home. Shortly after her internship, she secured an opportunity to work at the Dutch Embassy in Washington, D.C., where she currently resides.

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sheCenterfold Gina Diez Barroso

NAWRB:What obstacles did you face while developing Centro, the first university in Mexico City that specializes in creative studies? How did you overcome them?

Gina Diez Barroso: The first obstacle was they didn’t believe that we needed a new university, and they didn’t believe creativity was important. We spoke from authorities and business people, to everybody involved in this. I had to get together a diverse group of people— creative thinkers, business people, academics—who were working not for me but for my vision and my passion. They were working with me. We also hired market analysts to do a study, and the study predicted that it wasn’t going to work and that I shouldn’t do it. When I was young, I never took no for an answer. I used to think this was a bad thing, but now I take it as a compliment.

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