Strategies and Partnerships to Support Housing & Equitable Development Goals in Vancouver, WA

Session 6A | Thursday | 10:30 – 11:45 AM PT

Presentation PDF
About the Session

This session will include a multi-disciplinary panel that will discuss affordable housing and equitable development in central Vancouver, WA. Attendees will gain an understanding of various strategies and actions to support affordable housing development, explore how partnerships are key to achieving equitable development goals, and hear about the Commons project, a large multi-use development to co-locate affordable housing with community-serving commercial spaces. While some of the material presented relate to housing issues citywide, the focus of this session will be on affordable housing and equitable development work being done in the Fourth Plain area in Vancouver. This area is home to Vancouver's most diverse neighborhoods, including some of the highest percentages of Latinx, Asian, Eastern European, and foreign-born residents in the city. Communities of color comprise 40% of the area's population and household incomes in the area are on average about 60% of Vancouver's median household income. In a 2019 survey of Fourth Plain residents, 37% of renters said they would be displaced with a rent increase of $100 or less, so displacement risk is quite high for area residents.

This session will focus on the work of the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Housing Authority, and partner organizations aimed at increasing affordable housing and supporting area residents and businesses to help prevent displacement and maintain the area's vibrant character. 

About the Moderator

Samantha Whitley
City of Vancouver

Samantha Whitley became the Housing Programs Manager for the City of Vancouver in November 2021. Prior to working for the City, she worked for Clark County for 20 years as part of the Community Action, Housing and Development unit. Throughout her career, Samantha has been involved with managing community development, affordable housing, and safety net services using federal, state, and local funding sources. She has a bachelor's degree in Management and Business Information Systems from George Fox University.

About the Speakers

Shannon Williams
City of Vancouver

Shannon has been with the City of Vancouver since 2018 and is currently a Senior Long Range Planner in the City's Community Development Department. In her current role, she leads the City's equitable development work and manages the Fourth Plain Forward Initiative, which focuses on addressing systemic barriers and disparities experienced by the Fourth Plain community. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Zoology and Environmental Science from Miami University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from Portland State University.

Victor Caesar
Vancouver Housing Authority

Victor Caesar, Development Director, joined the Vancouver Housing Authority in 2018.  Victor is responsible for overseeing the functions that lead to the preservation and new construction of affordable housing throughout Clark County. Victor has over eight years of municipal experience coordinating complex real estate development projects that utilized a mix of public and private financing. This experience has included coordinating projects utilizing HUD Capital and Operating Funds, HOME, CDBG, LIHTC, Historic Tax Credits, Housing Trust Fund and Tax Increment Financing. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geography from Texas State University – San Marcos, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from Portland State University, and a Rental Housing Development Finance Professional Certificate from the National Development Council. 

Heather Cochrun
Evergreen Habitat for Humanity

Heather has been with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity since 2013. In her role she oversees Habitat's Neighborhood Revitalization program, offering placed-based holistic community development in the Fourth Plain community. In 2021 Heather received her master's in Social Work with a focus on organizational and community leadership.

Paul Burgess
Fourth Plain Forward

Paul is the Executive Director of Fourth Plain Forward. He has over 25 years of professional experience, including 15 years of international experience across education, international development, and the social impact sectors. Paul has a track record of strategic leadership, scaling start-up initiatives, and delivering equity-focused community development programming. Prior to joining Fourth Plain Forward, Paul founded CDV Global, a social impact company that specialized in providing equity-based professional development opportunities to marginalized grassroots NGOs in the global south. Paul has lived and worked across the globe, including several years managing UK government-funded development programs in Nepal and India. Prior to leaving England in 2007, Paul was a senior operational manager in the UK prison system.

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