Campus & Community

Dolbeare appointed as senior scholar

3 min read

Housing policy expert Cushing N. Dolbeare, founder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, has been appointed senior scholar at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Nicolas P. Retsinas, the center’s director, announced earlier this month.

Beginning in February, Dolbeare will work closely with Harvard’s Joint Center to provide knowledge and leadership within all levels of research that the center conducts. She will also be sharing her knowledge of housing policy with the Harvard community at a brown-bag lunch lecture scheduled for Feb. 19 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG). Her topic is “Affordable Housing: Beyond the Usual Suspects.”

For half a century, Dolbeare has been a leader in recognizing the role of affordable housing in national housing policy.

“Having known and respected the Joint Center since its establishment, I am honored and delighted by this opportunity to pursue my research and policy interests,” Dolbeare said. “I know I will benefit greatly, and look forward to contributing my best to the Joint Center’s work.”

Since the early 1950s, Dolbeare has helped to set housing policy and hold the government accountable for the needs of people who have no political voice. She has presented testimony on housing needs and pending legislation before the House and Senate on behalf of many public interest groups. During the ’60s, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asked for her advice on housing issues. In 1974, she founded the Ad Hoc Low Income Housing Coalition, which was incorporated as the National Low Income Housing Coalition five years later. Today the group is a leading nationwide supporter of housing legislation and concerns. She founded the Low Income Housing Information Service in 1976 to meet the need for timely, detailed, and accurate information on low-income housing programs for use by community organizations, and others seeking to provide low and moderate-income housing.

In 2000, the U.S. Congress appointed Dolbeare to be a commissioner on the Millennial Housing Commission. She was asked to help identify, analyze, and develop recommendations that highlight the importance of housing, improve the housing delivery system, and provide affordable housing for all Americans. This included recommending possible legislation and regulatory initiatives. She also has taken time to lecture on housing policy at Columbia University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina, the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. In addition, Dolbeare has visited and lectured on housing issues at a number of other colleges and universities throughout the country.

Dolbeare was honored by her alma mater, Swarthmore College, in 1991 with an honorary doctor of laws. Her other honors include the American Planning Association’s Paul Davidoff Award (1986), the John Macy Award from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (1992), the National Housing Conference’s Housing Person of the Year (1995), the Graciela Olivarez Award from the National Council of La Raza (1999), and the McAuley Institute Lifetime Achievement Award (2001).