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Woodrow Wilson Fellow to discuss rural housing issues

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host the founder of an organization dedicated to affordable rural housing as its next Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Robert Wiener, the Founder and Executive Director of the California Coalition for Rural Housing Project, which has been the leading voice in California for the production and preservation of affordable rural housing since 1981, will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8 in the Campus Center. His talk, Preserving Rural Life in Tough Times: Strategies to Combat Shelter Poverty and Stabilize Communities, is part of the University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series and is being held in conjunction with University Day.

Wiener will be on campus during the week of his talk to meet with students, classes and the community to discuss issues around rural housing and social policy. On Monday, April 6 at 8:30 a.m. in the Campus Center, Wiener will join with local community activists to host a panel for area high school students on housing issues. On Tuesday, April 7, he will travel to Houlton and deliver public presentations at the Houlton Higher Education Center.

Wiener has had extensive experience in the field of public housing, poverty in rural America, and community development. Under Wiener’s leadership, CCRH has successfully lobbied for millions of dollars in state housing assistance, benefiting farm workers, first-time homebuyers, the elderly and disabled, and large families living in rural and urbanizing communities.

Before forming CCRH, Wiener worked with community development groups in Alaska, Oregon, and California. He sits on the board of the National Rural Housing Coalition, National Housing Conference, and Housing California. He is the author and co-editor ofHousing in Rural America: Building Affordable and Inclusive Communities and has published articles on housing issues in trade magazines and books. Wiener has served on the faculty of the University of California at Davis, Department of Human and Community Development, since the early 1990s where he teaches housing and social policy and a summer abroad course on housing and community development in Barcelona, Spain.

The Visiting Fellows Program, sponsored by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is designed to encourage the flow of ideas between the academic and non-academic sectors of society. Typically the Fellows spend a week on campus speaking to classes and meeting informally with students, faculty, staff, and community members. UMPI has been a member since fall 2001.

Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows are successful journalists, public servants, diplomats, artists, and business executives who spend a week in classes, lectures, and informal discussion, helping to relate a liberal education to American Society. A growing number of Fellows are knowledgeable about environmental affairs, medical ethics, and the nonprofit sector.

For more information about his presentations, please contact the Media Relations Office at 768-9452.