Washington, D.C. – With profound sadness, the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) announces that its longtime, 15-year Executive Director Robert “Bob” Pohlman died yesterday, Thursday, April 26.
Bob was a beloved figure in the community development field – and a great friend and colleague to so many of us. He served as CNHED’s founding Executive Director from 2000 –2014, and under his tireless leadership, CNHED grew to be widely recognized as the leading advocacy and capacity building organization in the District of Columbia for community development.
Bob is perhaps best known at CNHED for his work in helping to create and strengthen the District’s Housing Production Trust Fund. Under his direction, CNHED commissioned a study of housing trust funds in 2000 in which it recommended that the District dedicate a portion of the Deed Recordation and Transfer Tax to support the Housing Production Trust Fund. Shortly thereafter in 2001, legislation was introduced and CNHED then joined with other organizations to advocate for its adoption. Since 2002, CNHED has helped gain nearly $1 billion for the Housing Production Trust Fund, resulting in the acquisition, production or preservation of more than 10,000 affordable homes for low and moderate income DC residents.
Other major accomplishments of CNHED during Bob’s tenure included successfully advocating with allies for the establishment of the Local Rent Supplement program that assists more than 3,500 extremely low income families; carrying out a highly effective “Housing For All” campaign that engaged thousands of District residents to create the political will to invest hundreds of millions in funding for a continuum of housing affordable to all DC residents; and conducting a capacity building program that trained nearly 5,000 community development professionals.
He served on both of the District’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Forces; the DC Tax Revision Commission; was Chair of the Housing and Community Development Reform Advisory Commission; the District of Columbia Housing Authority Advisory Committee, the Housing Production Trust Fund Advisory Committee, and numerous other community advisory committees.
Bob’s work at CNHED followed a 23-year career in the District of Columbia government, where he served as Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, Deputy Mayor for Finance, and Chief Financial Officer. His first post with the DC government was with the Model Cities Program, first as Fiscal Monitor, then as Budget and Accounting Officer. Bob began his career as an auditor in Chicago, but found his calling in public service while serving in Jacksonville, Texas, as a VISTA Volunteer with Volunteers In Service to America.
Bob was a deliberative and thoughtful person – not only did he have a spreadsheet for almost everything, he had a wry smile for everyone. He had tremendous energy and commitment to public service, having retired not once, but twice. And after his latest retirement, from CNHED, Bob remained available to share his experience and expertise. We will forever be grateful for his contributions to the residents of the District of Columbia and the community development field.
On behalf of CNHED’s staff, Board of Directors, and our 140+ organizational members, we thank and pay our deepest respects to Bob’s wife Dorothy, daughters Kim and Lindsey, and all of his family.
Additional information about ways we can all honor Bob’s life will be forthcoming, but the service will be at Christ Lutheran Church, 5101 16th St NW, on May 19th at 2:00 pm.
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Emily Price, Chair of the Board of Directors
Steve Glaude, President & CEO