Joseph M Ventrone is the Vice President for Regulatory and Industry Relations at the National Association of Realtors. He has been a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) since 2003. As a part of our ongoing Membership Month and a series of interviews with some of our committed members, we are pleased to interview Mr. Ventrone about his affiliation with NLIHC and why he would encourage others to join NLIHC.
Why are you a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)?
My entire professional life has been devoted to federal housing policy since my first job out of graduate school. NLIHC plays an important role in the housing industry by ensuring people with the lowest incomes in the U.S. have a voice.
How did you first get involved in affordable housing?
My first professional job was at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1974.
What do you find most challenging about affordable housing advocacy?
The most challenging job is messaging the multifaceted issues and navigating the extremely tight budgetary environment.
What is your best advice for housing advocates?
In the upcoming Presidential election don’t pit one form of subsidy against another form of subsidy. Educate candidates and the public on the support for all forms of housing assistance.
What is your favorite thing about being a member of NLIHC?
Agreeing with Sheila Crowley more often than not, but very respectfully disagreeing with Sheila (my very respected friend) on the need for the home mortgage interest deduction!
What does “home” mean to you?
Some think home is an economic investment and some think home is where the heart is. No matter what your belief everyone should have a decent, safe and sanitary place to rest one’s head!
Any good book recommendations on social justice, housing advocacy, homelessness, poverty etc.?
On Shaky Ground by Bethany McLean. This is a sequel to her previous book All the Devils are Here a very good book on the financial crisis and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a member of NLIHC?/ Why should someone join NLIHC?
No matter if you are at the local, state or federal level, NLIHC provides timely research for housing advocates. The NLIHC Washington Conferences attract top caliber speakers and policy makers as well.
What do you wish other people knew about NLIHC?
NLIHC in its short history has attracted top notch Presidents, from its founding President Cushing Dolbeare to Barry Zigas and now to retiring Sheila Crowley. I wish the NLIHC Board of Directors luck in finding someone to follow in these footsteps! Very Best Wishes to Sheila in a well-deserved career move to full time spouse, mother, and grandmother and a great American Citizen!
Read Related Interviews
Home Is Where You Feel Physically and Emotionally Secure
Lack of Understanding of the Affordable Housing Crisis Is Frustrating: Anne M. Williams
Why I Joined NLIHC: A Member’s Reflections
Affordable Housing for Extremely Low Incomes is Possible: Ruth A. Matz