In 2005, AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE debuted its Readers' Choice Awards for the nation's top affordable housing projects, and we have highlighted 238 outstanding developments since then. The nominations continue to become more compelling and harder to judge each year, and this year was no exception.

We received more than 140 nominations, and the editors of AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE went through each and every one, reading the stories, detailing the highlights, comparing them against one another, and scoring them on several key characteristics.

Many of the nominations overcame the financial challenges of the Great Recession and became realities because of the injection of stimulus funds. And others stood out because they didn't need to rely on stimulus funding during a tough patch for the low-income housing tax credit industry.

Seven years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, we're still seeing strong developments come on line and revitalize the hardhit areas. We're also seeing a lot of projects that have a large education or health component. And we're no longer just seeing projects that tout green technology and sustainable features entered in the green category—they are nominated in all of the categories.

So after much deliberation and a few heated debates, we have selected 34 exemplary finalists in nine different categories for this year's Readers' Choice Awards—one of our most diverse groups yet. They showcase some of the best in green technology, innovative financing, community revitalization, and social services. They are geographically diverse, representing both small towns and big cities in 21 states. And they serve a variety of populations: families; seniors; farmworkers; formerly incarcerated; formerly homeless; veterans; and tribal members in Ohkay Owingeh, N.M.

We did a lot of heavy lifting to whittle the list down, but now it's up to you—the readers—to choose the most deserving in each category as well as the overall top development. Check out the finalists starting on page 19. Then go to from July 11 to Aug. 15 to vote. Voting is open to only AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE magazine and e-newsletter subscribers as of July 1.

The winners will be announced online in September, featured in the November/December issue, and honored at a luncheon concluding AHF Live: The 2012 Affordable Housing Developers' Summit, Nov. 14-16, at the Fairmont Millennium Park in Chicago.

Congratulations to all of the finalists as well as the financiers, service providers, and government agencies who helped to make these developments a reality. And to those who submitted nominations this year but were not selected, don't get discouraged because your projects were exceptional as well. If they were completed in 2012, they will still be eligible to submit for next year's awards. Stay tuned for the 2013 entry deadlines.