OCS Conference Funding Submission

Event Photo:

ANHD Executive Director Barika Williams speaks with U.S. Secretary of HUD Marcia Fudge.

ANHD Executive Director Barika Williams speaks with NYS Governor Kathleen Hochul.

Screenshot of the "Integrating NYC's Housing Plan: Are We Really All In This Together?" panel discussion

Name: Winnie Shen


Specialization: MUP-City and Community Planning

Conference Host Organization/Institution: Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development

Conference/Competition Name: ANHD 2021: Fight Forward

Conference Term: Fall Conference Start Date: 2021-10-05 Conference End Date: 2021-10-07

What were your takeaways from this conference/case competition?
One key theme of the conference was the importance of centering the experiences of the most marginalized when creating policy. Speakers explained how NYS' Excluded Workers Fund, a benefit program meant to provide financial support to workers ineligible for unemployment insurance, did not cover all excluded workers as a result of the program's documentation requirements. Additionally, speakers highlighted the need for greater community outreach and education so that constituents are aware of what resources are available to them as well as how to effectively participate in their government.

How will your participation in this conference/case competition support your professional development?
It was helpful to hear from panelists about what they have been doing to advocate for policies, such as comprehensive planning. I am looking forward to learning more about those campaigns and how I can support the movement work. Aside from becoming more closely involved with advocacy, a question that came up during one talk was: how to win support from those who do not directly benefit, which is an important question that I am interested in delving deeper into during my studies and work.

What are some next steps or action items this conference/case competition inspired?
One speaker explained that the work of organizers is complemented by government officials who are willing to listen and work with them. While the institutions in place may seem to be immovable and irresponsive, it takes the combined efforts of those on both the inside and outside to create change. I am excited to bring the learnings shared by the panelists into my future work and to take care to continue connecting with on-the-ground organizing.

What are some tips or best practices that you would like to share with other Wagner students who attend a conference/case competition?
The conference organizers created virtual networking rooms that participants could join in between panel discussions. I was able to connect with some of my fellow attendees during these networking breaks. The virtual conference platform ANHD used also allowed participants to set up a basic profile and direct message other attendees, and making the effort to do both of those things made the virtual format feel less limiting.

Wagner Areas of Impact: Cities, Government, Housing, Inequality, Race, and Poverty, Nonprofits