Diane Yentel has been named president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

Diane Yentel
Diane Yentel

An affordable housing and community development industry veteran, Yentel has recently served as vice president of public policy at Enterprise Community Partners.

At NLIHC, she takes the baton from Sheila Crowley, who is retiring. The transition will take place in April.

"I am honored by the opportunity to build on years of creating transformative public policy to help achieve NLIHC's vision of assuring the lowest-income people in our country have decent and affordable homes," Yentel said. "Given the extraordinary leadership of Sheila Crowley and the talented and dedicated board and staff at NLIHC, I have a tremendous foundation from which to sustain and expand our impact."

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NLIHC is one of the nation’s strongest advocates for affordable housing. Crowley and NLIHC led the fight for the National Housing Trust Fund, and they are well known for their Out of Reach report, which calls attention to the mismatch between rental housing costs and wages in every jurisdiction in the country.

Prior to joining Enterprise in 2011, Yentel had been the director of the Public Housing Management and Occupancy Division at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she managed a team overseeing the development and implementation of nationwide public housing policies and guidelines. In this capacity, she worked with senior HUD leadership on development of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to leverage private capital to rehabilitate and preserve public housing. Her experience also includes serving as senior domestic policy adviser for Oxfam America.

Yentel’s first job in Washington was for NLIHC, where she worked as a policy analyst from 2005 to 2008. During her first year at the organization, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, displacing hundreds of thousands of low income people and damaging much of the region’s low cost housing stock. She led NLIHC’s efforts to advocate for an appropriate federal response by both Congress and the administration.

Prior to her career in D.C., Yentel had been the housing policy coordinator for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and was a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps working as a community development specialist in Zambia from 1995 to 1998. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has a master’s of social work from the University of Texas.

“Speaking on behalf of our entire board, I could not be more pleased that Diane will be the new head of NLIHC,” said Brenda Clement, chair of the NLIHC board, in a statement. “She has the right combination of leadership skills, policy expertise, political savvy, and commitment to housing justice to be a perfect fit for our coalition. The people in our country who lack decent and affordable homes will be well served by NLIHC under Diane’s direction.”