Cortney Watson

Managing Director of Grants and Federal Affairs

Phone: (202) 296-2741 x1010


Cortney Watson is Managing Director of Grants and Federal Affairs for McAllister & Quinn. She has extensive experience in the fields of affordable housing, community development, homelessness, and domestic violence. Prior to joining McAllister & Quinn, Cortney worked for the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), a trade association comprised of more than 23,000 affordable housing and community development professionals. As NAHRO’s Manger of Congressional Relations and Advocacy, Cortney engaged in extensive advocacy on Capitol Hill for a variety federal housing and community development programs. She also managed NAHRO’s grassroots network where she educated members about the legislative process, analyzed pending legislation, and encouraged members to become advocates through various publications, trainings, and public speaking events.

Additionally, Cortney researched homelessness and evaluated federal homeless programs at Abt Associates Inc. in Washington, DC, a social and economic policy think tank. Cortney’s other experience includes researching domestic violence and grant writing for the Cambodian Defenders Project (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and interning for Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Cortney holds a B.B.A. from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, and an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan. She is a native of Big Rapids, MI.

Affiliations and Awards
  • Member, Young Leader in Affordable Housing
  • Committee Chair, Women and Gender in Public Policy (2008-09)
  • Taskforce Member, University of Michigan Domestic Violence Initiative (2008-09)
Publications and Events
  • Speaker, “Local Impacts of Federal Budget Battles,” National American Planning Association Conference (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Speaker, “This Just in From Washington,” NAHRO Legislative Conference (Washington, DC)
  • Speaker, “Legislative Advocacy in Challenging Times,” NAHRO National Conference (St. Louis, MO)
  • Speaker, “The Future of the Community Development Block Grant Program,” National American Planning Association Fall Leadership Meeting (Washington, DC)
  • Facilitator, Board Retreat, Mid Atlantic Regional Council-NAHRO (Ocean City, MD)
  • Speaker, “Federal Housing Policy,” Minnesota Multi Housing Association Conference (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Author, “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act & Public Housing: A Smart Investment in Our Economy,” Journal of Housing and Community Development.