Stephen I. Holmquist

Washington, DC Office

Stephen I. Holmquist is a Member of Reno & Cavanaugh and has been involved in affordable housing issues for more than 20 years, working in government at both the local and federal levels, in the nonprofit sector, and at private law firms. At Reno & Cavanaugh, Steve represents organizations involved in advocacy for affordable housing issues, including the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) and the Housing Authority Insurance Group (HAI). Steve also represents local housing agencies on a wide variety of regulatory and development matters, emphasizing HOPE VI, mixed-finance, homeownership, and bond-financing transactions. In addition, he represents housing agencies that are participating in the Moving to Work demonstration program.

Prior to joining Reno & Cavanaugh, Steve served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as Special Deputy for Policy in the Office of Policy, Program, and Legislative Initiatives. In that capacity, he developed and managed the HUD approval process for housing agencies wishing to obtain private loans secured by a pledge of future appropriations of Capital Funds, managed the Moving to Work demonstration program, and led HUD’s efforts to implement legislative changes to the public housing program through the Federal rulemaking process, including rules pertaining to planning, funding, management, and capital improvement matters.

Before his tenure at HUD, Steve was Assistant General Counsel at the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), where he performed a wide range of legal, policy, planning, and legislative duties, including advice on the initial implementation of the BHA’s HOPE VI projects, conversion of a Section 8 development into a syndicated resident-controlled cooperative, and the refinancing of more than $30 million of the BHA’s bonds.

Selected Recent Work

  • Represents the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities on a broad range of regulatory, legislative, and strategic issues, including the interpretation and drafting of legislative proposals to further the interests of housing agencies.
  • Drafted legislation to reauthorize the HOPE VI program that has been introduced in Congress by Senator Barbara Mikulski.
  • Advise the Housing Authority Insurance Group in its efforts to support the affordable housing advocacy of its members and other housing organizations including its sponsorship of the Summit on the Future of Public Housing.
  • Represented the Niagara Falls Housing Authority in a complex 115-unit mixed-finance project involving HOPE VI funds, ARRA funds, tax-exempt bond proceeds, and tax-credit exchange funds.
  • Represented the New Bedford, Massachusetts Housing Authority in a $15 million bond issue secured by future public housing capital funds.
  • Assisted housing agencies participating in the Moving to Work Demonstration Program, which is designed to provide housing agencies with the regulatory flexibility to implement creative, local affordable housing strategies.
  • Participated in industry efforts to streamline public housing regulations through the Public Housing Administrative Reform Initiative.

Major Prior Working Experience

  • Special Deputy for Policy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Public and Indian Housing, Washington DC, 1996-2002
  • Assistant General Counsel, Boston Housing Authority, Boston MA, 1989-96
  • Associate, Hale and Dorr, Boston MA, 1987-89
  • Property Manager, Neighborhood Rental Services, Baltimore MD, 1981-83

Speaking Engagements

  • The State of Housing Initiatives Under the New Trump Administration PART 1 & 2- HOTMA, MTW, Section 8, Immigration, and More! – Housing and Development Law Institute 2017 Spring Legal Conference, Washington, DC, May 11, 2017
  • Panelist, ” The Future of Public Housing Finance”. Low Income Housing Coalition conference. March 29, 2011.
  • Panel Moderator, Public Housing Reform, ABA Forum on Affordable Housing, May 2008.
  • Speaker at many conferences and meetings of housing organizations, including Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Public Housing Authority Directors Association, the National Leased Housing Association, the Housing and Development Law Institute, and the ABA’s Forum on Housing and Community Development Law.


  • Author and Presenter, Policy Framework, The Summit on the Future of Public Housing, September 2008.
  • Contributing Author, Mixed Finance Development: Privatizing Public Housing Through Public/Private Development Partnerships, (chapter in Privatizing Governmental Functions (Deborah Ballati ed., 2001)).
  • Co-author, Summary of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998, issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, December 1998.

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law
  • Board Member, Housing and Development Law Institute (Washington, DC)
  • Board Member, Montgomery Housing Partnership (Montgomery County, MD)
  • Member, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials


Harvard Law School, J.D.

Harvard University, M.P.P.

University of Pennsylvania, B.A. cum laude

Bar Admission

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Massachusetts Bar


Baltimore, MD