NH&RA’s 2014 Vision Awardees Demonstrate Affordable Housing’s Larger Purpose

Daskalakis and Abromowitz Draw SRO Crowd to Boston Ceremony

Providing housing and its resultant community benefits not just as an occupation, but as the means to sustaining the American dream, was the theme that ran throughout the emotional October 6th ceremony in Boston honoring Andrea Daskalakis and David Abromowitz as winners of National Housing & Rehabilitation Association’s 2014 Affordable Housing Vision Awards for Career Achievement.

“I am blessed to be a part of the NH&RA family of affordable housing providers, an industry full of people who look at what has to be done to improve the world and do it.” said Abromowitz, Partner/Director and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Practice at the Boston law firm Goulston & Storrs, upon accepting his award from Governor Deval Patrick (via video) and Kate Racer of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I am fortunate to work on high impact products that help transform blight into hope and opportunity, that have extraordinary outcomes in indigent communities,” said Daskalakis who, according to presenter Joe Flatley, recently closed her 100th project for Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation where she serves as Chief Investment Officer, representing $547 million in financing for 3,774 units and 1.6 million square feet of commercial space.

“I am thankful that I can work in pursuit of social justice issues,” Daskalakis continued, “and give people the same opportunity to pursue the same American dream that was pursued by my own parents so many years ago.”

A standing room crowd of over 200 filled the Bank of America auditorium to celebrate Daskalakis and Abromowitz who join a distinguished list of 21 past recipients that includes former Boston mayor Thomas Menino, former Congressman Barney Frank, industry founder Jack Manning of Boston Capital and presenter Kate Racer.

“Boston affordable housing is a nuclear community and these people (Abromowitz and Daskalakis) are at its center,” said Racer.

“Each of us has a chance to contribute something greater than ourselves, but not all of us do,” said Governor Patrick.  “Affordable housing helps generate jobs, create opportunities and improve communities.”

“Affordable housing is as much about the men and women and children who live in the buildings as about the tax credits,” Abromowitz commented.  “While craft is important, your contribution is more important.  A great deal is one that makes a difference in a larger community.”

Awardees Biographies

David Abromowitz began working in affordable housing as a young attorney in 1983 as a member of the Goulston & Storrs team that represented tenants at the distressed Columbia Point public housing project during its transformation into a successful 1,283 unit mixed-income Harbor Point community, a precursor to the national HOPE VI program.  Throughout his career, in addition to working on projects around the country involving tax credit investment, HUD-assisted housing, public housing revitalization, assisted living, community land trusts, shared-equity homeownership, multifamily rental housing development, planned homeownership communities, and other multi-layered public/private projects, Mr. Abromowitz has worked actively on housing policy issues.

He is a co-founder of NH&RA’s Council for Energy Friendly Affordable Housing (CEFAH) and has been instrumental in the development of the association’s newest Preservation Through Energy Efficiency (PTEE) Initiative. As a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, he wrote the original policy blueprint for what became the $8 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program. In the 1980’s, Mr. Abromowitz was among the founders of the Lawyers Clearinghouse on Affordable Housing and Homelessness, and the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing.  He co-chaired the Housing Policy Working Group of then Governor-elect Deval Patrick (D-MA), served on Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s housing transition team, and currently serves as a Vice-Chair of NH&RA’s Board of Directors.

Andrea Daskalakis joined MHIC in June 1993 and for ten years worked exclusively on building MHIC’s multi-investor fund platform for its Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity investment program. She participated in the financing of projects in Massachusetts involving housing and historic tax credit investment, including HUD-assisted housing, public housing revitalization, assisted living, and other public-private projects.

Building on MHIC’s success in financing affordable housing, which provides the context for families to thrive, Ms. Daskalakis since 2002 has pioneered the development of MHIC’s New Markets Tax Credit program, which finances high impact projects that strengthen community and environmental health.  Under its program, MHIC has pursued key commercial projects in low-income communities, initially in Massachusetts and more recently throughout New England.  MHIC’s operating principle is that homes, taken together with places to work, schools, stores, health care facilities, and other community buildings, form vibrant neighborhoods – the context within which people who live there can prosper.

Ms. Daskalakis’s work in identifying and closing catalytic community projects over the past 12 years is noteworthy. Considered a leader in the NMTC industry and recognized for her ability to tackle first-in-the-nation, multi-party transactions and for developing innovative solutions to deal-structuring challenges  during both the underwriting and closing processes, Ms. Daskalakis sets a high standard for her peers. space.

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