Each year it gets harder and harder to select Affordable Housing Finance’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards finalists. We’re seeing more complex financing, more green certification, increased need for affordable housing in communities, and intensive resident services and amenities.

The editors reviewed more than 140 nominations, scoring them on nine key characteristics, including the development teams’ creative problem solving, the impact the projects have on the community by adding to the affordable housing stock, and their roles in overall neighborhood revitalization.

And then after much deliberation, nit-picking, and tie-breaking, we narrowed it down to 34 finalists in eight categories for our ninth annual awards.

We may have done some heavy lifting to come up with the finalists, but the next step is up to you. You—the readers and members of the affordable housing community—become the judging panel. It’s up to you to select the projects that you think are most deserving in each category as well as the one that you think deserves the title of best overall development of 2012 and 2013.

Past Readers’ Choice winners have shared what an honor it is to be selected by their peers. Please take the time to read about the finalists, and then cast your votes for your favorite developments.

Voting will be open through Aug. 16. To make the process as fair as possible for our finalists, voting is only open to Affordable Housing Finance magazine and newsletter subscribers as of July 1.

The winners will be announced online in September, featured in the November/December issue, and honored at an awards luncheon concluding AHF Live: The 2013 Affordable Housing Developers’ Summit, Nov. 20-22, at the Fairmont Millennium Park in Chicago.

Congratulations to all of the finalists and their partners who helped bring these developments to fruition. And to those who submitted nominations this year but were not selected as finalists, don’t get discouraged because your projects were impressive as well. If they were completed in 2013, they still will be eligible for next year’s awards. Stay tuned for the 2014 deadlines.

This issue will be my last with Affordable Housing Finance and publisher Hanley Wood. When I started 12 years ago, I never realized how much the affordable housing industry would become part of my life; it has certainly been more than a job.

It has been an incredible experience to be part of this amazing community, and it has been a pleasure to share your stories, be your advocate, help to create a premier affordable housing conference, and get to know many of you personally.

Affordable Housing Finance will continue to be in the good hands of Donna Kimura and Jerry Ascierto. You can reach them at dkimura@hanleywood.com and jascierto@hanleywood.com.