Ann Cone and Richelle Patton, two friends from Atlanta, started meeting for meals to support each other and discuss the challenges faced by women in a white, male-dominated industry. The group grew as more women requested to be invited. In 2007, Ann and Richelle hosted their first luncheon, which became the foundation for the Women’s Affordable Housing Network (WAHN). The event was sold out, with 90 women attending, and the group began hosting these quarterly, covering a wide range of topics, including policy, education, leadership, and self-care.
In 2014, Ashley Northcutt and Jill Cromartie took over leadership of WAHN and formalized the group as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. They obtained sponsorships from local companies and started community service projects, including golf lessons for women, sponsorship for college students joining the affordable housing industry, and a website launch. They expanded the women’s events at the Georgia Housing Conference, and through WAHN became the best of friends and business partners.
WAHN’s success in Atlanta led to the formation of the Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina chapters, and Angie Truitt from Houston, Texas, also joined the group. In 2021, the National Women’s Affordable Housing Network was formed as a 501(c)(3) organization, with a board of directors, program directors, and advisory committee. The group hosts quarterly policy calls, panels, and has developed an 8-course curriculum for launching new chapters. They provide guides, checklists, and classes to walk through everything from applying for a 501(c)(3) to opening a bank account and launching events.