The past couple of weeks has been a very busy time for our team. Over the last couple of weeks, our team journeyed from the East coast, all the way to the West coast, to attend several important housing conferences. We started off with the Opportunity Finance Network conference (OFN 2022) in New York, went on to attend the National Council of State Housing Agencies' conference and showplace (NCSHA 2022) in Houston, and finally found ourselves all the way on the west coast in Los Angeles, attending the Southern California Association for Non-profit Housing Developers’ annual conference (SCANPH 2022).
We return to work more inspired than ever to create the best deal transaction platform so that we can support our clients in fulfilling their missions, whether it is providing families with affordable homes or helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. The following is a brief insight into our team’s experiences of attending these conferences and our main takeaways from them.
Opportunity Finance Network Annual Conference, New York
CDFI practitioners, funders, and investors, as well as policymakers and other industry stakeholders from across the country gathered in New York City from October 18-21 for the first in-person Opportunity Finance Network conference in three years. The sold-out conference, a first in the organization’s 38-year history, with more than 2000 people in attendance, was an opportunity to celebrate the collective impact that CDFIs achieved during COVID, from disbursing over $7.5 billion to more than 114,000 businesses to helping countless businesses access lifelines like EIDL and local and state resources, to reflecting on what it meant to be a Financial First Responder.
A common thread the Builders Patch team identified through the countless conversations we had is how critical software is for these mission-driven lenders. During the height of COVID, many CDFIs found themselves scrambling to receive and process loan applications, to underwrite and close deals, and keep up with what seemed like never-ending demand. At Builders Patch, we are determined to build a platform that meets all the needs of CDFIs - from application to impact reporting - for all asset types and loan products.
National Council of State Housing Agencies Annual Conference and Showplace, Houston
Leaving behind the chaotic hustle of midtown Manhattan, our team took off to the cultural capital of the South, Houston, Texas. The annual conference of the National Council of State Housing Agencies was hosted in Houston this year, from October 22nd to 25th. Over the course of these four days, our team had the opportunity to interact with representatives from different HFAs across the country and learn about the innovative ways in which they have navigated the last couple of years.
During the global pandemic, HFAs bore the lion’s share of responsibility in ensuring affordable housing development in their jurisdictions stayed on track. As the primary sources of financing for affordable rental housing through the LIHTC, HFAs were first responders in helping developers close unexpected funding gaps. During the NCSHA conference, we were able to interact and learn closely from various stakeholders, about what their response strategies were. We were able to understand how in these extraordinary times, HFAs employed innovative strategies to close unexpected funding gaps.
Having a booth at the conference showplace allowed us to closely interact with more attendees. Many of them were specifically struggling with their internal processes and were on the lookout for new technology to integrate into their workflow. Our conversations with attendees revealed that several HFAs continue to use outdated data collection, sharing, and management modes, which slows their ability to respond quickly to new loan applications and urgent funding requests. During the pandemic, many of the HFAs faced staffing challenges, which further increased the workload on the existing staff and reduced their agility in responding to emergency situations. We were able to demo the utility of the Builders Patch platform to various HFAs and we are excited to partner with them in the upcoming days. We hope to streamline and accelerate their affordable housing lending processes and integrate them into a revolutionary digital ecosystem built for the affordable housing industry, by affordable housing specialists.
Southern California Association of Non-profit Housing Developers’ Annual Conference, Los Angeles
Our next and final pitstop for the month of October was in sunny Los Angeles, for the Southern California Association of Non-profit Housing Developers’ annual conference (SCANPH 2022). This was our first time attending a housing conference on the West Coast and we were excited to meet and network with non-profit housing developers in the Southern California region. Prior to the conference, we had several conversations with stakeholders in the region about Measure ULA and its impact on affordable housing development. November will be a critical month for the region, with the elections coming up and the fate of Measure ULA being decided.
There were several interesting panel discussions set up on the 28th of October, at the conference venue. Our team attended various workshops on how to build back better and navigate the challenges of the pandemic, alongside market forecasts in the context of the upcoming elections. As centerpiece sponsors for the keynote speaker & luncheon program, it was a delight to see our centerpieces placed on every table at the ballroom. It was a special opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to several non-profit affordable housing developers and lenders in the region. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with SCANPH and spreading awareness regarding the housing policy changes in the L.A. market.
AHF Live, Chicago
From November 14-16, our team was in Chicago for AHFLive. Organized by Zonda, this event brought together leading stakeholders from the affordable housing industry. Our team was one of the exhibitors at the conference, which gave us an opportunity to speak with various developers and lenders and show them what Builders Patch can do for their organization.
In the sessions, there was a strong focus on proptech innovations, updates on Capitol Hill issues, and innovative case studies which attendees can learn from. We were especially thrilled to attend the Proptech for Affordable Housing session, which was an informative session on the power of leveraging emerging technologies in the affordable housing industry.
What's coming up?
If you were not able to catch us at any of the above conferences, don't worry, we are not done yet! Catch our team at the upcoming conferences in the month of November.
- BISNOW MULTIFAMILY ANNUAL CONFERENCE (BMAC) EAST - November 29, Washington DC