Healthy Places Gather Under One Roof

Frank Woodruff at Under1Roof Conference

The Housing Community & Development Network of New Jersey focused their Under One Roof Conference on "Housing As Health." That was an important milestone for NACEDA Executive Director Frank Woodruff. He reflects on the event and the journey he and the Network took to get there.

October 31, 2017



I packed the rental car on October 19. Turned on the Waze app. Downloaded an audio book. And spent entirely too much time on the Turnpike in order to spend a two whole days in New Brunswick, NJ for Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey’s annual conference, Under One Roof.

The New Jersey Network grew their conference from one day to two for the first time since the early 1990s. The extra day was to accommodate content on healthy places and homes and the potential for new resources for our communities. 

In addition to my plenary presentation, NACEDA’s Healthy Places initiative had a role in shifting the focus of the Under One Roof conference. When NACEDA undertook its Healthy Places Initiative a year ago, this is the exact result we were looking for in 2017. After I facilitated a healthy places and homes conversation at the Network's board retreat this past summer, it was very gratifying to see the organization bring the topic so passionately to its members. And I’m grateful they invited me to be a part of it.  

What is somewhat less obvious is the risk the New Jersey Network took to shift focus. Of course the event was technically proficient: they chose a good hotel, they recruited high quality speakers. (Dr. Megan Sandel and Abigail Baum wowed!), and the logistics were smooth. But doubling the length of your conference for a topic that is relatively new takes strong leadership. The Network boldly put their mission first, declared the topic critical, sought trust and patience, and asked members and funders to follow. They led.

Under One Roof was an exceptional experience for the The Network's members. NACEDA is proud to have helped shape it. The long-term results are still on the horizon, but the immediate buzz was so thick I need water wings to stay above it. Bravo to The Network and thanks for having me. 

Share this post:

Comments on "Healthy Places Gather Under One Roof"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment