Four longtime housing champions will be inducted into Affordable Housing Finance’s Hall of Fame for their lasting contributions to the industry. They have helped build thousands of affordable homes, fought for better housing conditions, and advocated for critical programs and resources.
They will be recognized at AHF Live: The Affordable Housing Developers Summit, Nov. 18-20, in Chicago and featured in the October issue of the magazine. The Affordable Housing Hall of Fame was created in 2006, and these four individuals will join 60 other pioneers from different sectors of the industry.
The 2019 Hall of Fame inductees are:
Jane Graf: Graf has dedicated her career to providing affordable housing to people in need. She has been a longtime leader at Mercy Housing, including the past five as the national nonprofit’s president and CEO. Prior to taking the top post, she was COO and then president, overseeing all regional offices of an organization that owns more than 23,000 units nationwide. Earlier, she served as president of Mercy Housing California, the nonprofit’s largest regional office. During her tenure, Graf has been involved in building transformative housing communities for families and seniors and was critical in expanding Mercy Housing’s reach into permanent supportive housing for people who were homeless. She’s also been a leader for the larger industry, serving on multiple boards.
Ed Lee: Mayor of San Francisco from 2011 to 2017, Lee grew up in public housing in Seattle and wasn’t afraid to take on housing issues. As a young intern with the Asian Law Caucus, he represented residents of the Ping Yuen public housing complex in San Francisco as they initiated a rent strike against the city’s housing authority for better conditions. As mayor, Lee ushered in multiple bold housing programs, including efforts to transform the city’s distressed public housing projects and the passage ofa $310 million general obligation bond to build more affordable housing. Lee died in 2017, but his work continues to make an impact today.
Denise Muha: It didn’t take long for Muha to become passionate about the affordable housing industry. When Muha first moved to Washington, D.C., in 1985, she got an administrative job with the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA), knowing little about the industry. Three years later, she became executive director of the organization, which advocates for housing providers specializing in federally assisted rental housing. In her role, which she still serves today, she works with the NLHA’s 500 member organizations on policy issues and represents them before the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Congress. In addition to her day-to-day work at NLHA, she formed a separate nonprofit scholarship program in 2007 for residents of federally assisted rental housing, granting over $1 million.
Walter Webdale: Webdale has dedicated his career to the affordable housing business for over six decades. He started his career in the field of urban renewal in several New York state locales and has been an integral part of the affordable housing landscape in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1974, when he moved his family to the area to become the first director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development. Since 1999, he has been president and CEO of AHC, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit affordable and mixed-income housing developer. Under his leadership over the past two decades, he has more than quadrupled its development portfolio, growing from 1,600 units at 13 properties to 8,000 units at nearly 60 properties.