For Immediate Release

Contact: Aleesha Towns-Bain (907) 297-2700; Myer Hutchinson at (907) 343-7133

ANCHORAGE – Today, the Municipality of Anchorage and Rasmuson Foundation announced a new partnership focused on spurring more housing development in Anchorage. The Municipality will establish a Chief Housing Officer position, funded for an initial two years by Rasmuson Foundation. The Chief Housing Officer will report directly to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and serve as a primary liaison between the MOA and developers to facilitate increased production of residential housing units.

“I am deeply appreciative of Rasmuson Foundation’s commitment to solving problems and making Anchorage a better place.  A Chief Housing Officer will help bridge market gaps by focusing and coordinating the resources devoted to housing development,” said Mayor Berkowitz.

The Chief Housing Officer will also direct existing community development and affordable housing resources to achieve the housing goals and targets identified in McDowell’s 2012 Anchorage Housing Market Analysis.  Despite recent economic headwinds, housing demand in Anchorage remains high.  Over the next twenty years, there will be an expected need for approximately 18,200 new dwellings in the Anchorage Bowl and 3,300 new dwellings in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“Finding meaningful solutions to address housing will not only change the lives of those in need but strengthens our community as a whole,” said Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan. “Our economy will be more stable and our city more vibrant when more people have a place to call home.”

Robin Ward, current director of Real Estate Services, will serve as the Chief Housing Officer and be initially tasked with: identifying current barriers to housing production in the Anchorage Bowl; creating achievable solutions, incentives, initiatives, and implementation strategies; identifying tools, partners, and other resources to implement new strategies; and tracking progress on achieving goals and objectives.

Robin Ward is the Housing Director reporting to the Mayor.  Robin has over 30 years of experience in the real estate field, including co-ownership of a real estate development company, head of the Anchorage Community Development Authority, Director of Real Estate for the MOA, and Real Estate Manager for CIRI.