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Home > Meeting Nashville's Needs: Establishing a Housing Trust Fund 1/17/12

Meeting Nashville's Needs: Establishing a Housing Trust Fund 1/17/12

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flynn Auditorium, Vanderbilt Law School 

Panelists addressed the consequences of Nashville's housing shortage on all members of the Nashville community,
and describe how developing a housing trust can help alleviate problems of homelessness in our city.

What is a housing trust fund?

Housing trust funds are distinct funds established by city, county or state governments that receive ongoing dedicated sources of public funding to support the preservation and production of affordable housing and increase opportunities for families and individuals to access decent affordable homes.  Housing trust funds systemically shift affordable housing funding from annual budget allocations to the commitment of dedicated public revenue.

panelist photo

Panelists included:

Mary E. Brooks

Mary E. Brooks is the Project Director and creator of the Center for Community Change’s Housing Trust Fund Project and is a well-known national advocate for housing trust funds. Ms. Brooks has worked as a low-income housing advocate for more than thirty years and has been instrumental in the development of housing trust funds around the country. She is also familiar with the housing situation and past efforts in Nashville to establish a housing trust fund. Ms. Brooks holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University, where she received the College of Engineering Distinguished Alumna Award. She has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York City and has authored publications and articles on low-income housing issues.

Created by Ms. Brooks in 1986, the Housing Trust Fund Project compiles information about the development of housing trust funds throughout the country and promotes the involvement of neighborhood organizations in the creation and implementation of these funds to ensure that they benefit those most in need of housing. 

Mick Nelson

Mick Nelson is a Policy Analyst with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) where he has worked since 2009.  Prior to that, he worked closely with advocates and non-profits in Nashville in an effort to start a housing trust fund in Nashville.  Mr. Nelson is also in the process of completing his dissertation research examining the contemporary causes of racial residential segregation in Nashville. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education from the University of Wollongong in Australia and a Master’s degree in Community Research and Action from Vanderbilt University, where he is also completing his doctoral degree.

Janet Rosenberg

Janet Rosenberg is a paralegal at Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.  She primarily works with families and disabled individuals living in subsidized housing.  She also works with Legal Aid’s Medical-Legal Partnership program helping individuals and families address legal issues that may affect their health.  For the past two years, Ms. Rosenberg led the Nashville Coalition for the Homeless as its chairperson.  The Coalition is a network made up of agency providers and formerly homeless individuals. 

She presents workshops on rent preparedness to prisoners and homeless individuals who may be eligible for housing in the future.  For the past four years, she served on the committee that evaluates HUD grants through the Continuum of Care.   She also serves on Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services consumer and housing task force.  In 2011, Ms. Rosenberg was a finalist for the Center for Non-profit Management, Erie Chapman Foundation Servant’s Heart Award, an award that recognizes individuals who on the “front lines” of the service profession.  Even after 27 years at Legal Aid, she continues to find her work to be relevant, challenging and never boring.

Claire Smrekar HTF panel

Claire Smrekar, Moderator Claire Smrekar is a professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College. Professor Smrekar researches the social context of education and the social organization of schools, with specific reference to family-school-community interactions in public, military-sponsored, non-public, and choice schools. She also serves as a faculty advisor for the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions.


This panel event was co-sponsored by:

The Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions is a university wide program dedicated to discussing and promoting moral values relevant to the professions. It seeks to foster an environment conducive to faculty research and teaching in areas associated with moral leadership, and to develop student's abilities to provide moral leadership within their chosen profession as well as within the broader community.

Law Students for Social Justice 

The Hyatt Student Activities Fund provides student organizations and individual students with full or partial funding to bring in outside speakers and support student-planned symposia or conferences. The fund was endowed by Wayne S. Hyatt (VULS ’68; VU ‘65) and his late wife, Amanda M. Hyatt (VU BA ’67, MA ’74), to support student-initiated programs that enrich the intellectual content of student activities at Vanderbilt University Law School.