Charles Edson


Founder of Affordable Housing Organizations

Housing expert Charles (Chuck) Edson knew just the moment when affordable housing would become a national issue - when people had to move in with their mother-in-law. Now it is happening, as affordability has moved from the margins to the mainstream due to the lack of supply in many parts of the country.

Top Takeaways:

    • How the public is now more aware of affordable housing programs as compared to 50 years ago
    • How the affordable housing sector has changed from just a low-income issue to a general issue
    • The advantages of multifamily housing and rentals
    • The importance and advantages of the tax credit programs
    • The importance of educating the public on the issue of affordable housing on every level
    • Why you need to have perseverance when you choose a career in the affordable housing sector

Learn why affordable housing is a general public issue and not just a low-income one.

"Housing will become an issue when you have a doubling up of families. As affordable house is not just a low-income issue, it is far broader."

A Champion with Congress

Chuck is a retired affordable housing attorney and champion with Congress, who now lectures to business, professionals, and trade associations-many of which he founded during his career-on housing topics.  Edson, a Georgetown Law lecturer and retired housing attorney, knows housing law inside and out from his decades of legal work and public service.

He discusses how we went from public housing to subsidized private housing as the primary solution, the implications, and a future that must embrace multifamily housing and more creativity. Chuck headed up Jimmy Carter's housing transition team, served in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development , and was a partner at Nixon Peabody and co-founded Lane and Edson with Bruce Lane.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Chuck is well-known for his involvement in the establishment of the low-income housing tax credit program. Affordable Housing Finance established an award in his honor. He was co-editor-in-chief of the Housing Development Reporter, a news and information service. He founded the American Bar Association's Affordable Housing Committee. He was the founding legal counsel of the National Leased Housing Association's and National Housing Rehabilitation Association; Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation;Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, and Council for Affordable and Rural Housing. He is co-author of A Practical Guide to Low- and Moderate-Income Housing and author of A Leased Housing Primer. He also teaches a semester course on affordable housing at Georgetown Law.


Listen to hear the programs he among others created in the affordable housing sector and how those programs have changed in the recent future.

Key Moments:

    • He explains how his law firm was centered around affordable housing which opened more opportunities for him among others to continue making the difference in the sector [3:09]
    • How the public sector has changed in the last 50 years by switching from public ownership of assisted housing to private ownership of assisted housing [6:24]
    • The lessons that have been established in the public housing sector [9:00]
    • He describes his greatest success story as helping start the programs in Section 8 and the low-income housing tax credit [9:49]
    • The challenge of the public unawareness of affordable housing programs or the need for them [10:40]
    • The unaffordability of housing for young people today and its impact on the congress promulgated programs [12:55]
    • He shares ways in which the issue of affordable housing can be solved [14:46]
    • He explains the advantages of multifamily housing as opposed to single-family and why rentals are a better option than mortgages [15:36]
    • He tells stories that led him to enjoy his work and the people he worked with including the congresspeople [17:19]
    • How the tax credit program has utilized private incentives and also produced wonderful housing [19:12]
    • He describes his role and experience working at HUD [21:17]
    • He talks about the impact of the civil rights of the 1960s on HUD and the government at large [23:23]
    • The section 8 program, its huge project-based side, and why people now confuse it with the voucher programs [28:36]
    • The challenges that exist today in the affordable housing sector and how they can be solved [29:26]
    • What advice does he have for younger people who want to make their cut in the affordable housing sector? [32:13]


Champion with Congress
Jimmy Carter's Housing Transition Team
Affordable Housing Finance established an award in his honor
Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards
Affordable Housing Finance Edson Awards

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