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The Land Use Law Center is happy to announce that this year’s recipient of its Groundbreaker’s Award is Frances F. Dunwell. Ms. Dunwell is the Hudson River Estuary Coordinator at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, where she oversees the implementation of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda, an ambitious program to conserve the fish and wildlife, landscape, and water resources of the Hudson River Watershed from Troy to New York harbor. The Groundbreaker's Award is given to a graduate (or group of graduates) of the Center's Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) Training Program who has done exemplary work in the community or region using the innovative and collaborative land use and decision-making tools and techniques taught in the LULA program. With Ms. Dunwell’s support the LULA Program has been sponsored numerous times by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to train local leaders on watershed management and conservation through land use tools and techniques.
Ms. Dunwell was selected from a prestigious group of past LULA graduates nominated for this award. Through Ms. Dunwell’s dedication to public service and her efforts to strengthen the Hudson River Valley’s watershed and quality of life, she has demonstrated an understanding of effective land use mechanisms that have been groundbreaking for sustainable development throughout the region.
To read more about Fran Dunwell’s contribution to the Hudson Valley click here.
The Theodore W. Kheel Center on the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes was launched in April 2008 to train lawyers in environmental and land use dispute resolution. Located at the Land Use Law Center on the Pace Law School campus in White Plains, New York, the Kheel Center aims to promote the use of non-traditional forums to resolve environmental and land disputes. To further this mission, the Kheel Center bestows an annual Founder’s Award upon an individual or municipality that has worked collaboratively with its community and reinvented democracy to make change happen. This year, the Kheel Center presents Rose Noonan with the 2013 Founder’s Award to recognize her work in creating, developing and furthering fair and affordable housing in the region. The spirit in which Ms. Noonan furthers the Housing Action Council’s mission and Community Housing Resource Center exemplifies the type of collaboration that the Kheel Center strives to highlight and celebrate.
Ms. Noonan has held the position of Executive Director since 1986 and has been with the Council since 1979. She began her housing career as Director of the National Leased Housing Association, the leading trade association for government assisted rental housing development and management located in Washington, DC. She has held program and policy positions at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal. She attended Trinity College in Washington, DC, received an advanced degree in Government from Georgetown University, and is a graduate of Pace University School of Law.
Ms. Noonan has advised State and local housing officials on designing and implementing affordable housing programs and plans. She was instrumental in implementing a federal housing desegregation order in her management of the Yonkers Affordable Housing Office. She has designed housing seminars and trained professionals nationwide. She is experienced in integrating the housing development process with health and human service programs.
She has provided organizational and technical support to numerous not-for-profit organizations throughout the Hudson Region, including the The Preservation Company, Sheltering the Homeless Is Our Responsibility, A-HOME, Allied Community Enterprises, Nubian Directions and many more. The goal of these organizations is the development of housing which serves families and individuals of modest means. She has advised many civic groups, religious groups, and community organizations on appropriate roles for themselves in housing development and assisted them through the development process. She has guided Housing Action Council into partnerships with affordable housing developers and has established HAC as a developer of small scale housing as well as assisted developers new to the affordable housing field.
Her services are primarily focused in the Hudson Region; however she has provided this service throughout New York State and in many areas throughout the country. She has a strong working knowledge of Federal, State, County and local housing programs and is skilled in integrating them to develop financially feasible and affordable housing developments.
Ms. Noonan has also worked closely with the Land Use Law Center for the past 10 years as a trainer, supporter, and organizer of the Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program. With her support, the Center has trained over 250 local leaders on tools, techniques and strategies in furthering affordable housing.
Ms. Noonan’s technical assistance and guidance to both developers and municipalities has created homes for hundreds of people across the region and her collaboration and dialogue with local citizens and community housing boards has been instrumental in reframing the conversation on affordable housing and its importance both economically and socially.