One member of the District of Columbia Housing Authority family will take part in a panel discussion, sharing her views on millennials and housing.
Grace Campion, a policy analyst who began interning at DCHA in the summer of 2015, will be one of six members on the Housing America’s Families Forum Millennial Panel. The forum will take place November 18 at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas and will be presented by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families. The Foundation aims to make housing issues a top priority as a new administration moves into the White House in 2017. The panelists’ ages range from the late 20’s to early 30’s.
“My goal is to talk about the impact of student loan debt on being able to save money towards becoming a homeowner,” said Campion. She also wants to highlight how astronomical rent increases make it harder for people in her age group, who are primarily renters, to envision a path to homeownership.
She will include commentary about the trend of millennials choosing to live at home with their parents once they’ve earned degrees because it is the more affordable living option, something with which Campion has personal experience.
“For me, living at home for a year and a half gave me flexibility to pay down student loans and find a career path,” said the Silver Spring, Maryland, native.
A soon to be D.C. resident, who recently searched for a two-bedroom apartment costing less than $3,000 monthly, Campion also plans to discuss the lack of affordable housing. Another personal experience she will draw on is renting from an individual landlord, who owns the property as a side investment, versus a property management company.
“It is one of the pillars of the American dream. Owning property is one of the tried and true ways to move up the economic ladder in this country,” said Campion, who rented in a triple-decker house in Chicago from a city bus driver. “That to me felt more like an authentic experience than renting from a big company.”
While Campion’s personal experiences will be front and center as she is featured on the panel, what she has learned at DCHA and in previous jobs also will be included.
“Not everyone between the ages of 18 and 34 has the option to live in their parents’ basement or has student loan debt,” she said. “Some of these ‘hot-topic’ millennial problems are not universal. For example, DCHA customers may have a different set of challenges that affects them or makes homeownership out of reach.”
Campion, who currently works for Director of Strategic Planning Kimberly Cole, spent three years at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) as a senior policy analyst supporting the work of the Housing Commission. There she staffed a 21-member bipartisan commission that issued a report with actionable policy recommendations, including ideas to increase the supply of affordable rental housing and tackle housing finance reform.
Prior to joining BPC, she was an associate with the Development and ULI Foundation teams at the Urban Land Institute. After graduating from College of the Holy Cross as a Spanish major, Campion participated in an AmeriCorps affiliated volunteer program and worked with the Chicago Legal Clinic as an intake desk manager assisting people representing themselves in mortgage foreclosure cases. She continued this work as an administrative assistant with the newly formed Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University Of Maryland School Of Public Policy.
All of her federal policy experience creates an interesting perspective for her work at DCHA.
“I am learning something new every day here, and it is refreshing to work directly on local policy issues that affect our community in D.C.,” she said.