On Thanksgiving Day, the affordable housing community lost a dear friend and advocate. Bill Powers was a friend of the Housing Assistance Council since its earliest days as one of our first staff members and later board member and chair.
A true affordable housing advocate, Bill devoted over 50 years of his life to the promotion of affordable housing and once said that the work has been “a lifetime interest.” When Gordon Cavanaugh became HAC’s first executive director in late 1971, he hired Bill, whom he had met while both men were working for the city of Philadelphia’s housing programs. Initially Bill helped start HAC’s lending programs and later he took on responsibility for government affairs.
As a housing program developer for the Rural California Housing Corporation, he was credited with raising over $1 million in a single year to support housing development in that state. Even after retiring, Bill donated his time to many organizations, served as a board member of several local housing agencies and HAC, and worked closely with the California Alliance of Retired Americans. He was also the recipient of the Congress for California Seniors Lifetime Achievement Award.
The death of Bill Powers is a loss for the affordable housing community. We will keep his memory alive by building on the work he spent his life doing: supporting rural communities’ access to safe, healthy, affordable homes. “I think HAC ought to be proud we’ve survived this long and proud of the movement we helped create,” Bill once said. “As long as there is a need for housing in rural America there will be a desperate need for organizations like HAC.” Rest in peace, Bill. Thank you for all you’ve done for us and for low-income rural Americans.