Helen Dunlap


Mark-to-Market and REAC: HUD Innovations

Ep. 36 - When Helen Dunlap started at HUD she quickly discovered that 25% of  HUD's multifamily portfolio was at risk for foreclosure. She was involved early-on in the innovations including mark-to-market and REAC, to save the program.

Top Takeaways:

    • The major problem of policymakers of creating the policy to suit them as opposed to residents
    • The positive impacts of affordable housing in neighborhoods
    • The difference between the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and HUD
    • The importance of inclusion of communities of colors in the affordable housing sector
    • The creativity of people in building houses to eliminate homelessness

Listen to learn how housing policy has changed over the years and whether the changes either positive or negative are benefitting low-income earners.

"We are in a time where people are finding more ways to be creative." 

She was at HUD during the creation of mark-to-market as an innovative solution at the time. She was included in a handful of people who created HUD's Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) which focused on property inspections.

Today she is a Housing and Community Economic Consultant specializing in strategic, systems and organizational change work for a myriad of international and domestic owners, developers, lenders, and other stakeholders engaged in building, owning, and financing affordable housing. In the past 40 plus years, Helen has run a local housing nonprofit in Napa, California, launched the California Housing Partnership, a state of California sponsored entity, and ran two for-profit subsidiaries for Shore Bank Corporation. She was also the Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for FHA multifamily portfolio during the first term of the Clinton Administration and President of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. Helen Dunlap contrasts policy at HUD in problem-solving and practice in 1993 to today. She feels the layers of complexities have grown exponentially.

She applauds non-profits who exist to provide affordable housing, paying more attention to neighborhoods. She talks about being a voice for poor people as part of the Low-Income Housing Coalition.


Hear the initiatives that local communities like churches are taking in efforts to eliminate homelessness in poverty areas.

Key Moments:

She describes the diversity and maturity she has seen over the years in affordable housing without ignoring the holes that still exist [2:33]

She explains the processes of policymaking back in the day including when they created REAC [4:11]

How Helen was involved in the creation of the Mark-to-Market program at HUD [7:03]

Why she has respect for affordable housing developers and the relationships she formed as a part of her legacy [11:43]

She describes the role of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition in affordable housing and her experience working there [14:05]

She explains how she enjoyed the consulting world doing non-strategic plans for years and the challenges that came with it [17:56]

How she imagines the future of affordable housing [21:28]

What advice would she give to younger people who are looking to join the housing sector [26:11]

Linked In

Housing Finance Article

ShelterForce Article

National Equity Fund Board

CHAM Conference 2019 Speaker

Dunlap Consulting

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