MBA CONVERGENCE Partner Profile: Sarah Garland of CBRE

(One in a recurring series about MBA CONVERGENCE, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s affordable housing initiative.)

Sarah Garland is Director of Production for Affordable Housing and FHA Lending with CBRE, Seattle, responsible for supporting the origination of affordable and workforce housing debt financing. She leads a company initiative to leverage CBRE’s broad originations platform with the deep expertise of the CBRE Affordable Housing and FHA teams in the regulated multifamily finance market.

Garland is one of the foremost industry specialists in affordable housing finance. She is former chair of the MBA FHA Committee and Vice-Chair of the MBA Multifamily Steering Committee and has participated in both the Low-Income Housing and Workforce Housing Task Forces.

MBA NEWSLINK: Why is affordable multifamily housing important to you?

SARAH GARLAND: During the course of my career, I have seen firsthand how critical housing is and how much of an affect it has on a city and its population. The affordable housing industry serves an incredibly important need that is often otherwise not being addressed. I am happy to be working in an industry that is actively focused on finding solutions to the housing problem.

NEWSLINK: Why do you think the Affordable Rental Housing Advisory Council is important to MBA and its affordable housing efforts?

GARLAND: The council is a coalition of industry lenders who are working together to identify changes that need to be made in the affordable housing industry. This focused effort allows us to identify issues, both legislatively and programmatically, and address those issues. The power of the MBA then allows us to be represented and champion for the changes that we need.

NEWSLINK: What has been your most meaningful experience since being a member of Affordable Rental Housing Advisory Council?

GARLAND: Working with the sub-committee on COVID relief issues was a great experience. We were working to address the immediate needs that the crisis was putting on housing as they were unfolding. It was great to work together and come up with ideas on how to address very real issues that were affecting owners and tenants at that very moment. COVID-19 truly brought the affordable housing crisis into the spotlight and we came up with some big ways to address it. I’m looking forward to seeing those ideas persist even past the end of the pandemic.

NEWSLINK: What else would you share with MBA members who want to get more involved in affordable housing?

GARLAND: When I first started working in affordable housing, very few lenders and borrowers were interested in it.  But now, it’s being actively recognized as an important and much-needed asset class. It’s become a high priority for the agencies, as well as local, state and federal governments. Because of the focus, there are a huge number of lending opportunities in the affordable space. And while it’s not for the faint of heart, it’s worth it once you work through the complexities of the process. 

A video of Garland discussing her work with MBA CONVERGENCE can be accessed here.


CONVERGENCE is driving collective action with lenders, other industry participants and government partners to facilitate new solutions to our nation’s rental and housing affordability challenges. By using a cohesive approach, CONVERGENCE promotes more sustainable, affordable homes for purchase and rental for underserved people and communities, especially minorities and low-to-moderate-income Americans.

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