CED Conference 2003

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Janneke Ratcliffe
Janneke Ratcliffe, Vice President for the Center for Community Self-Help and the Self-Help Credit Union, discusses Self-Help's plans to stimulate economic development.

More than 100 affordable housing and community practitioners from across North Carolina gathered on March 21 for a Duke Law Community Economic Development Clinic conference entitled "Emerging Issues in Community Development Law: Stimulating Affordable Housing and Economic Development in the Southeast."

The conference, held at the Durham Marriott Downtown, brought community development practitioners, investors, lenders, and state and local government officials together with attorneys, accountants and other professionals to discuss emerging issues in housing and economic development law. In particular, the event focused on topics that can serve either to eliminate barriers to success or that provide new resources to support this work.

"The conference was a great success," said Andrew Foster, Director of the CED Clinic. "All of the participants that I talked to expressed how much they got out of it - both from the discussion sessions and through networking."

Among the highlights was an address from North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore, in which he discussed the need for more affordable housing for working families and the steps his office is taking to fill this need. Joseph Hagan, president and CEO of the National Equity Fund, the nation's largest non-profit investor in low-income housing tax credits, delivered the conference's keynote address. In his speech, Hagan described the state of the affordable housing marketplace and the negative impacts that certain federal initiatives, such as President Bush's proposal to end double taxation of certain dividends, could have on community development.

L. Lane Sarver, foreground, a consultant on non-profit housing issues, was one of dozens of people attending the conference.

"Law and business intersect in particularly important ways around the issue of community development," said Chris Leon, a partner with the conference's lead sponsor, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. "This work is highly technical and this conference provided a venue for helping practitioners expand their knowledge base so that they can put together transactions that will more effectively leverage market-based solutions to address community needs."

Andrew Foster and Dr. Monica Lett, director of the Winston-Salem Community Development Department, discuss emerging state and federal community development programs.

The Conference was organized by the Duke Law Community Economic Development Clinic and sponsored by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Wachovia Bank, BB&T, Reznick, Fedder & Silverman, P.C., The National Equity Fund, Inc., Fifth Third Bank, The North Carolina Community Development Initiative, The North Carolina Low-Income Housing Coalition and SRDI.