Neily’s Take on Showing Up

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

March 10, 2022

Qué onda mi gente?!

As we all get ready for the 2022 National Convention and Housing Policy Summit in Washington D.C. next week, I thought I would interview one of our National Board of Directors and advisor to the National Advocacy Committee, Neily Soto, to talk about her journey in becoming active in the policy discussions of her local community in Massachusetts. Neily is a successful businesswoman who understands the power of getting involved and speaking up, particularly around housing inventory.

Neily’s Take on Showing Up

Q: Neily, you took on the issue of housing inventory in your market. How did you get involved with your local community?

Neily: As a real estate agent, I have always made it a priority to be present in the communities I serve. I soon realized that housing inventory was becoming a greater issue in my neck of the woods. Though new construction was coming in, it was being built for rental purposes but nothing for homeownership. Do not get me wrong, we need rentals too, but giving people the opportunities to build wealth is also critical and that isn’t being prioritized. I am passionate about offering opportunities to families who want to build generational wealth by owning, working and consuming in the communities they purchase in.

Q: Tell us about some of the housing inventory wins you guys have had in Massachusetts. What is the new Housing Choice law?

Neily: In January, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted one of our top advocacy priorities, the Housing Choice Bill, as part of their legislative economic development package. The Housing Choice Initiative will spur housing development by lowering the voting threshold for key zoning proposals that support housing production. Remember, this is a huge barrier in a lot of places. For anything around zoning or building to get passed, you have to get a supermajority (2/3 of the voting body) of the council or legislature to pass it-meaning nothing gets done. Now, it’s just a simple majority (50% plus 1) needed and we can engage at the local level to help enact these zoning changes and increase both opportunities for homeownership and the diversity of housing available across the state. It was a big deal!

Q: What advice would you give to our members on how they can take on the issue of housing inventory locally in their community?

Neily: My advice is threefold, first you have to get involved. Become a known resource for the municipalities you sell homes in. Tell them the story of the families you are trying to help and are their constituents.

Second, wake up the crowds that don’t practice real estate but who understand that this is the key to providing financial freedom to those families as they build equity in what they own.

Finally, show up! Show up at every town meeting, city council fundraiser, and participate in any municipality board you can become a part of! We need to walk the talk, and with grace and empathy try to negotiate happy mediums for our communities

See you all in Washington D.C.!

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.