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NLIHC Awards PRRAC Founder Chester Hartman Its Prestigious 2013 Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has awarded Chester Hartman, Ph.D, founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), the 2013 Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award.  Mr. Hartman was honored for his lifetime of scholarship and formative influence on urban and housing policy during NLIHC's Annual Housing Leadership Awards Reception last night.

Mr. Hartman, who is now PRRAC's Director of Research, was the organization's first executive director, from 1990-2003, and helped build the organization into an important source for civil rights policy and research.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University's Department of Sociology, where he is a member of SEIU Local 500, and the Coalition of Academic Labor, which he helped organize and create.

"There is no one who has studied urban or housing policy in the U.S. in the last 30 years who has not learned from Mr. Hartman's scholarship," said Philip Tegeler, PRRAC's President. "We are grateful for his tremendous contributions and influence on public policy that has created better living environments for low and moderate-income Americans."

Mr. Hartman said he was humbled to receive the award, which was named after Ms. Dolbeare, a leading expert and advocate on federal low income housing policy, who was widely known as the godmother of the affordable housing advocacy movement. 

"This is truly an honor," Mr. Hartman said. "My goal, like Ms. Dolbeare's, has always been to advocate for public policies that made housing affordable for everyone. We have made progress, but our job is not done. It won't be done until the homeless have shelter, and every American family has a safe and affordable place to live and raise their children."

Mr. Hartman holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and served on the faculty there as well as at Yale, the University of North Carolina, Cornell, the University of California-Berkeley, American University and Columbia University.

"Chester is the intellectual conscience on the harmful effects of concentrated poverty in the U.S. in housing, education, community development and other walks of life," said John C. Brittain, a member of the PRRAC board and a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia. "His continuous studies and publications reminds us all of the needs of the truly disadvantaged."

Don T. Nakanishi, Ph.D., a PRRAC Board member and Professor and Director EmeritusUCLA Asian American Studies Center, said,  "For over fifty years, Chester Hartman has been the quintessential scholar-activist, who has had a singularly significant impact on our nation's housing policies and civil rights advances. He has been an inspiring, influential, and insightful leader."

And Jose Padilla, the PRRAC Board's Vice President and Executive Director of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), cited Hartman's work on behalf of the disadvantaged.

"For legal aid lawyers, Chester Hartman is one of but a handful of heroes," Mr. Padilla said. "One of our indispensable. For the poor, whose daily poverty destroys dreams of owning houses, Chester has been their unknown champion and, for millions of them, his housing leadership and vision, has brought them homes. For his visionary work for equitable, affordable and decency in housing for the poor--- we thank him as we celebrate his life's work."

Mr. Hartman was an original member of the ad hoc coalition that predates NLIHC, and he includes his service on the NLIHC Board among his many accomplishments.  His extensive list of published works includes a range of books to be found on academic syllabi and personal bookshelves alike. His articles have appeared in The Nation, Social Work, Virginia Law Review, Journal of the American Planning Association, Progressive Architecture, The Village Voice, Encyclopedia of Social Work and Social Policy, among others.

Ilene Jacobs, Litigation Director for the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), said she has known Mr. Hartman since 1978 when she worked as a law clerk for the National Housing Law Project.  She called him "a dedicated advocate for affordable housing and equitable housing," adding that much of his work contributed to the body of research enabling other advocates to fight forcible displacements as well as demonstrate the need for affordable housing, eviction protections and housing choice.

"His appreciation of the connection between race and poverty helped support and compel housing advocates around the country to address that nexus in their work," Ms. Jacobs said. "Chester recognized the connection between the census undercount and lack of services and equity for farmworkers and their families when he supported CRLA's census undercount research and advocacy leading to significant improvement in census operations. Most recently he served as a persuasive expert in CRLA's successful Duroville case in order to show the adverse impact of forcible mass displacement of a tightly knitted, Indigenous farm worker community."

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