About

The Cooper Housing Institute (CHI) was founded in 2018 by the Cooper family whose commitment to affordable housing spans 50 years. We founded CHI because we are passionate about making housing a priority in the United States.

We support research that focuses on the root causes of the shortage of affordable housing and chronic homelessness across the nation. While often a highly politicized issue area, we aim to focus on objective, fact-driven research that brings often divergent groups together to embrace common sense solutions.

CHI understands the importance of homeless preventative programs and permanent supportive housing for the most impacted families, senior citizens, and veterans. To this end, CHI also supports direct grants to community-based organizations providing these programs in the communities where we live and work.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that “public opinion wins wars.” We understand that to make housing a priority, public awareness of our nation’s housing challenges needs to rise, substantially. Only then will elected officials, policy makers and private sector leaders across the country affect substantial change.


CHI aims to fund effective awareness and education programs related to our nation’s housing challenges.

CHI Leadership

CHI’s founders have more than 80 years of combined experience in identifying and implementing solutions to the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Mr. Cooper Sr., founded WNC & Associates, Inc. (WNC) in 1971 for the sole purpose of investing in affordable rental housing. Mr. Cooper Jr., joined WNC in 1988 and now serves as CEO of this family business. Since its founding 50 years ago, WNC has invested more than $5 billion of private capital in affordable housing on behalf of more than 19,500 individual and institutional investors. These investments have financed the ground-up development and/or rehabilitation of more than 1,450 affordable rental apartments in 47 states providing affordable homes to more than one million low-income residents.

CHI Founders Will Cooper Sr. and Will Cooper Jr.

Wilfred N. Cooper Sr., is co-founder and Director of the Cooper Housing Institute. He is also the Chairman of WNC, a company he founded in 1971, which specializes in the investment and development of affordable rental housing properties. Mr. Cooper, who has testified before Congress regarding low-income housing tax credits, is a life director of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a national trustee of NAHB’s Political Action Committee. He is a life trustee of the National Housing Conference, a cofounder and director emeritus of the California Housing Consortium and a member of the U.S. Vets Housing Taskforce committee. Additionally, Mr. Cooper has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF). Mr. Cooper is the recipient of the CHF Lifetime Achievement Award, the NAHB Robert J. Corletta Award and the David Reznick Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements in the industry. Mr. Cooper earned a bachelor of arts from Pomona College.

Wilfred N. Cooper Jr., is co-founder and President of the Cooper Housing Institute. He is also the president and CEO of WNC. Prior to joining WNC in 1988, Mr. Cooper worked in government and legislative affairs in the Washington D.C. office of a multinational corporation. He is a national trustee of the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Political Action Committee, a member of the NAHB Federal Government Affairs Committee and the board of directors of the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), a co-chair of the Affordable Housing Subcommittee of the CBIA and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Tax Credit Advisor. He is also a member of the National Housing Conference and the Urban Land Institute. Mr. Cooper earned a bachelor of arts from the School of International Service of the American University.