All Kinds of Homes in All Parts of Town for All Kinds of People

Home > Housing + Economic Opportunity Summit – Agenda

Housing + Economic Opportunity Summit – Agenda

Host organizations HousingWorks Austin and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas are bringing together diverse audiences – including the real estate and business industry, housing and community development practitioners, and financial institutions – to better understand challenges and opportunities around creating equitable economic opportunities for all.

        Summit Agenda

Please note:  All speakers are confirmed unless otherwise noted.

Friday, February 9, 2018 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, Austin, TX

7:30 – 8:15 AM                 Registration 

7:30 – 8:15 AM                 Breakfast

8:15 – 8:30 AM                Welcome

  • Michael Gerber, President-elect | HousingWorks Austin Board of Directors
  • Roy Lopez, Community Development Officer | Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
  • Senator Kirk Watson | State of Texas (Invited)

8:30 – 8:50 AM               General Session Speaker: Rolf Pendall, Co-Director | Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.

8:50 – 8:55 AM               Introduction of Keynote Address

9:00– 9:50 AM               Keynote Moderator:  Evan Smith, Editor-in Chief and CEO | Texas Tribune, and host of “Overheard with Evan Smith” | PBS

Keynote Panelists:

  • Mayor Steve Adler | City of Austin
  • Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth, TX (invited)
  • Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston, TX (invited)

9:50 – 10:10AM             Networking Break

10:10 – 11:20 AM          General Session: Credit, Debt, and Intergenerational Wealth – Moderator: Mechelle Dickerson, Arthur L. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice, University Distinguished Teaching Professor | University of Texas at Austin School of Law



  • Ann Baddour, State Director, Fair Financial Services Project | Texas Appleseed
  • Garrett Groves, Economic Opportunity Program Director | Center for Public Polity Priorities,  Austin
  • Joyce McDonald, Executive Director | Frameworks Community Development Corporation, Austin
  • Jillian Olinger, Research Associate II | Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Columbus, OH

 11:20 – 11:45 AM                    Networking Break

 11:45 – 1:00 PM                      Lunch

General Session: Reimagining Cities Panel: Housing + Social & Economic Mobility – Moderator: Sherri R. Greenberg, Fellow of the Max Sherman Chair in State and Local Government, Clinical Professor | University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Panelists: TBD

1:00 – 1:15 PM                           Transition Break

1:15 – 2:45 PM                           Breakout Sessions

Track #1:  Digital Inclusion:  Access and Economic Opportunity
Moderator: Jordana Barton, Senior Community Development Advisor | San Antonio Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The boom in global broadband over the past two decades has changed the way we access financial services, job opportunities, education, healthcare and social networks. Yet this digital growth has not been even across communities. In Austin, access to the Internet lags behind for African-Americans, Hispanics, older residents, and those with lower incomes and education. This session will explore why closing this digital divide is essential for economic, social and political equity, as well as what tools and resources can be used to invest in broadband infrastructure and digital literacy in underserved communities.


  • Catherine Crago, Strategic Initiatives and Resource Development | Housing Authority of the City of Austin
  • Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Community Impact Strategy | Google Fiber, Alphabet, Inc.
  • Dina Lehmann-Kim, Program Manager | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.

Track #2: Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity Moderator: Roy Lopez, Community Development Officer | Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Meaningful employment and access to education is key to addressing affordability issues in Austin. On average, college educated individuals have higher earnings and greater contributions to the local economy over their lifetimes. Affordable educational and workforce development programs focused on local needs can help connect employees to stable jobs and provide greater economic opportunities. This panel will focus on local efforts aimed at connecting potential employees with varying educational attainment to meaningful employment opportunities.


  • Andres Alcantar, Chairman, Commissioner Representing the Public | Texas Workforce Commission
  • Nick DePorter, Senior U.S. Public Policy and Government Affairs Manager|LinkedIn, and Councilmember | Town of Fountain Hills, AZ
  • Sarah Eckhardt, County Judge | Travis County (Invited)
  • Richard Rhodes, President and Chief Executive Officer | Austin Community College

Track #3:  Workforce Housing: Platform for Economic Growth – Moderator: Geronimo Rodriguez, Chief Advocacy Officer | Seton Healthcare Family and Trustee | Austin Independent School District

Federal guidelines contend that a household should pay no more than 30% of its income toward housing expenses.  Even though incomes have stayed relatively flat in the past decade, housing costs have increased dramatically over the same period.  With strong employment growth in low- and moderate-wage job sectors, it is crucial to develop effective strategies to adequately house the workers who make our community function.  In this session, we will define “workforce” housing and explore creative strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing to this sector.  Special topics will include Austin’s “strike fund” for the preservation of workforce housing, as well as local efforts to develop employer-assisted housing.


  • C. Kent Conine, Director | Federal Home Loan Bank, Dallas
  • Erik Solvan, Executive Director | Mayor’s Office of H.O.P.E. Denver, CO
  • David Steinwedell, President and Chief Executive Officer | Affordable Central Texas

3:00 PM          Closing Reception