Today, April 21, 2022, marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order of the President that called for the creation of the National Center for Housing Management. It is an appropriate day to look back and look forward.
Over these fifty years, NCHM has had its ups and downs. There were days when its continued existence was in doubt. The decision by its creators to require that NCHM “stand on its own two feet” financially and not depend on federal support created challenges that nearly engulfed the organization more than once. Ultimately, though, that decision proved to be a wise one. Today, NCHM stands strong and independent, free from undue influence from any quarter or the vagaries of changing Federal policies and administrations. Executive Order 11668 tasked us with “the upgrading of industry standards,” a responsibility we have been able to carry out effectively in part because we have not been influenced by the weakest link or the politically expedient — the negative strings that often come with outside funding.
Many people deserve credit for enabling NCHM to survive these challenges and prosper. They include, most notably, our longtime chairman, the late Mr. John J. Burke, Jr., who saved NCHM from certain disaster in the early 1980s by providing the financial bailout and business acumen that it so desperately needed. Credit also goes to our federal compliance leaders over the years, including MaryAnn Russ, Mark Alper, Lisa Thompson, and Jo Ikelheimer, who always kept the bar high for our gold-standard compliance certification programs. We also recognize the important contributions to our property management training and certification programs by Joan Howell, James Waller, and the late Roger Stevens. And of course, we would be derelict if we did not mention the many talented and committed instructors who brought their experience, talent, and passion to the delivery of tens of thousands of programs across the country.
NCHM was created to professionalize the industry, and we have done that and continue to do that every day. Millions of deserving seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities, low- and moderate-income families, and others have benefitted directly and indirectly from our work. Support for affordable housing in America has never been stronger in large measure because it is seen as an essential need for so many and because it is viewed as a need that is being competently met. We take some credit for that, but we are also mindful that our true and trusted partners have been the individual housing professionals, property management companies, nonprofit organizations, public and Indian housing authorities, and private owners who have put their faith in our programs and services.
It is impossible to know what the next fifty years will bring. One simply needs to look to the past to see that. It is fair to say that on April 21, 1972, when President Nixon signed Executive Order 11668, no one could imagine that 50 years later, NCHM would not only be thriving it would be delivering its training and certification programs entirely online over something called “the Internet” to people sitting in their offices, homes, and elsewhere participating on their “devices.”
Technology evolves, regulations change, and programs come and go. But one thing that hasn’t changed in fifty years, and is unlikely to change in the next fifty, is the need for competency in the delivery of our Nation’s housing resources. Today our board of directors, leadership, staff, and instructors are committed to meeting that need with the same conviction, expectation, and optimism as those who created NCHM fifty years ago today.