A Personal Message from Chrystal Kornegay from the 30th Anniversary Celebration of LIHTC

A Personal Message from Chrystal Kornegay from the 30th Anniversary Celebration of LIHTC

October 2016
Chrystal Kornegay

The year was 1986.  I’ll never forget it.

Many things happened that year but two have influenced my life forever.  The was the death of my mother.  And the second was that LIHTC became law.

At the time, these two events had absolutely no connection.  I didn’t even know what the LIHTC was back in 1986.  But unbeknownst to me in the mid-80s, the program would inadvertently play a major role in my life.

My mother’s death market yet another period of instability in my life by putting my housing situation in jeopardy.  I never lived in a tax credit subsidized unit, but my situational housing issues helped me understand just how critical housing stability is.  Housing instability impacts life beyond finances.  Worrying about it can consume you and leave little room to think beyond where you’re going to sleep that night.

That experience began my interest and passion in urban planning and community development.  Along that path I somehow ended up at MIT.  And a major part of my education was working at The Community Builders.  That’s where I learned about the pivotal role the LIHTC played in providing neighborhood and family stability.  I was incredibly fortunate to learn the trade in the presence of geniuses who were living examples of how to apply talent and passion to creating good for everyone.  People like Willie Jones, Judy Weber and Swan Oey become my heroes and taught me so much about this great work we all do.

The I got the honor of learning firsthand the impact of the LIHTC working at Urban Edge with Mossik Hacobian.  Working at the community level, I was inspired and humbled by families in properties that were supported by the LIHTC.  These folks worked, raised families and made their neighborhoods better places.  This experience is what taught me the power and true purpose of the LIHTC.

And then the Governor blew me away by asking to help him create and implement an agenda based on the work I had spent the past 20 years doing.  What a privilege it is to run the program in my current role as Undersecretary of DHCD, and to have joined a small but impactful group of agency leaders from Amy Anthony to Aaron Gornstein.  And to do it alongside one of the nation’s most uncompromising stewards of the program, Kate Racer.

The LIHTC program has not only provided stability to millions of Americans across our country, but it has created a community.  And in Massachusetts, this community is small but mighty as is evidenced today.  Let’s never forget the folks we are here to serve but let’s not overlook the value in serving together.

On behalf of the Baker Polito Administration, we thank you for all you do and for continuing to allow us to be part of this beloved community.