By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Pioneer Passes

Builder and developer Leon N. Weiner, saluted by the NAHB in 2002 as the "conscience of the housing industry in America," died Nov. 17, 2002 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 82.

Weiner, a 53-year veteran of the housing industry, remained active with Leon N. Weiner & Associates, in Wilmington, Del., until October 2002.

He built numerous residential and commercial properties--5,000 single-family homes and townhouses, and 10,000 low- and high-rise apartments, many of which targeted low-income households and the elderly. He built the first racially integrated Delaware housing development in the early 1950s. He also built hotels, offices, and retail centers. In 1967 he served as NAHB president. He was appointed to three presidential commissions, including the Kaiser Commission on Urban Housing, which led to the landmark Housing Act of 1968; and was inducted into the NAHB's Housing Hall of Fame in 1979.

"Leon Weiner was the living embodiment of the effort to achieve the goal of 'a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family,' as set forth in the Housing Act of 1949," says NAHB president Gary Garczynski. "We will miss Leon's outspoken, enthusiastic, and effective advocacy for housing. Our industry has lost one of its brightest lights."

Hit Parade

"Homes of Our Own," the NAHB's CD-ROM home building game, sold its first run of 10,000 copies in just six weeks.

The NAHB estimates from the sales that the educational game has reached 281,925 students, 16,110 teachers, and 338,310 parents--in just a few weeks. Needless to say, another press run is underway.

Find the Owls

In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) must tell Arizona builders and the NAHB where endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owls are on private lands.

The NAHB had requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act, but FWS argued that owl-habitat location disclosure would cause bird-watchers to trespass on private property.

The NAHB responded that knowing where the owls lived would provide more protection and facilitate better land-use decisions.

Bigger Dream

President Bush unveiled a major study by HUD, "The Blueprint for the American Dream," on Oct. 15, 2002, and announced efforts to add 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade. The NAHB applauded the initiative.

NAHB President Gary Garczynski urged Congress to pass the "Renewing the Dream" tax credit and H.R. 3995, the "Housing Affordability for America Act of 2002," as a means to implement the plan.

Additionally, the NAHB has committed to building a network of homeownership advocates in 20 top housing markets. Garczynski says, "To the extent that all of us in the housing industry can work together to remove barriers to minority homeownership, we will see a very real boost to the economy and to the strength of our communities."