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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Harvard director to speak about the status of affordable housing, Sept. 25

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Retsinas is former executive director of R.I. Housing and Mortgage Finance Corp.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – September 15, 2008 – Nicolas Retsinas, director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, will be the guest lecturer for the third-annual Dr. Marcia Marker-Field Lecture for Social Justice and the City.

The lecture, “The Status of Affordable Housing,” will be held in the Paff Auditorium on the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

Though he will speak on the topic from both national and regional perspectives, Retsinas is very familiar with the climate of affordable housing in Rhode Island. From 1987 through 1993, he served as the executive director of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, now Rhode Island Housing.

Retsinas has directed Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies since 1998. The Joint Center is a collaborative venture of the Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Kennedy School that conducts research to examine and address the most critical housing and community development issues in America.

Prior to his Harvard appointment, Retsinas served as assistant secretary for housing-federal housing commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as director of the Office of Thrift Supervision. He also served on the Board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Housing Finance Board and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.

Retsinas received a Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Treasury Department in 1997. He also received the Excellence in Public Service Award from the Rental Housing Association in 1998 and the Housing Leadership Award from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2001. He is in the National Housing Hall of Fame and was named one of the most influential people in real estate by the National Association of Realtors, in home building by Builder Magazine, and in multifamily housing by Multi-Housing News.

Following the presentation by Retsinas, there will be a panel discussion on Rhode Islanders’ views on affordable housing. Marker-Field will moderate the discussion. Panel members will include:

• Thomas Deller, director of planning and development, City of Providence, Department of Planning and Development
• Noreen Shawcross, executive director, Rhode Island Housing Resource Commission
• Susan Bodington, deputy director for programs, Rhode Island Housing
• Brenda Clement, executive director, Statewide Housing Action Coalition
• Mark Motte, assistant vice president for academic affairs and director of the Center for Public Policy, Rhode Island College.

Before the lecture, there will be a reception beginning at 6:15 p.m. For more information, contact Joanne DiBello at (401) 277.5174 or jdb@uri.edu.