Are you a Member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) advocates for a wide range of housing policy issues. Legislatively, NLIHC is working to influence Congress and the Administration on the following issues:

  • Permanently protecting tenants at foreclosure;
  • Expanding housing funding in the federal budget and seeking a permanent end to sequestration;
  • Achieving housing finance reform that includes funding for the National Housing Trust Fund;
  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing; and
  • Assuring tenants’ interests are reflected in any changes to HUD and RD programs.

Beyond our legislative work, NLIHC is producing high quality research and advocacy publications, all of which are available at reduced or no cost to members. These include:

Be a part of these important efforts and strengthen your advocacy by joining NLIHC. You can join as an organization or as an individual. Please note that dues amounts are suggested. We want everyone to join no matter how little or much you can afford.

Our success is built on the support of advocates like yourself.

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Congress at Home, Advocates Should Urge Action in Fall

 

Will you be meeting with you representatives this month while they are in district?  Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on recess during the month of August, resuming legislative business on Monday, September 8. While they are in their home districts and with most House Members and 27 Senators seeking reelection in November, housing and homeless advocates should take the opportunity to remind them of the work they have left to do before the end of the 113th Congress.

A top “must pass” item is the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The current PTF law expires at the end of 2014. Unless it is made permanent or extended by December 31, many tenants whose landlords or property owners lose their properties to foreclosure will no longer have federal protections against imminent eviction. The laws governing tenant rights will revert to the array of state laws on the status of tenants at foreclosure, most of which still offer less protection than the federal law. S. 1761 and H.R. 3543 are the two Permanently Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bills that need a vehicle for enactment this year.

Congress also must complete its FY15 HUD and USDA Rural Housing Appropriations bills. The Senate and the House will delay finalizing these bills until after the November election, but all Members need to hear that you expect funding at the levels in the bills that have cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee.

While no further action is likely on either housing finance reform or tax reform, advocates should stress that when Congress does act on these issues in the 114th Congress that robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund must be included.

For more information on these issues and more, go to http://nlihc.org/issues.

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United for Homes in the News

“I always like it when people and groups think big.”

That’s what Mark Fogarty, editor-at-large of National Mortgage News, wrote yesterday in his column about the United for Homes proposal to fund the National Housing Trust Fund through mortgage interest deduction reform.

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Read & Share the column featuring NLIHC President Sheila Crowley

We ask supporters of the United for Homes campaign to work with their local media to secure more coverage. Pitching a story to the media can seem daunting, but our growing national campaign is unique, interesting, and attention-grabbing.

Why is this story relevant?
The mortgage interest deduction has been viewed as a sacred cow, but as Washington moves toward comprehensive tax reform, this expensive tax expenditure will be part of the debate. United for Homes would not eliminate a mortgage interest tax benefit. Rather, we are proposing fair and innovative tax reform which taps into the public’s growing interest in addressing wealth inequality.

Why is this different than other pitches?
Because we are offering a solution. The media hears a lot about negative impacts, but our proposal offers a refreshing and rare viewpoint. We can improve the mortgage interest tax benefit to help more homeowners, while also solving our nation’s affordable housing crisis. Being part of a movement for positive change is appealing to everyone – including reporters.

Who cares?
Lucky for us, America does! The United for Homes proposal would help end homelessness, and that is something that resonates with everyday readers and policymakers.

You can make a difference by:

  • Pitching the newsworthy story to local reporters who cover housing or tax policy;
  • Submitting a letter to the editor in response to related news (“Great piece, but the article overlooked an important solution that exists…); and/or
  • Writing an op-ed from your compelling human-interest angle. Why did YOU endorse the United for Homes campaign?

And we’re here to help! Contact Sarah Brundage at sarah@nlihc.org or call 202-662-1530 x246 to get started.

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Interning at NLIHC

Interning at NLIHC is a rewarding experience for students and recent graduates. NLIHC brings on policy, research, field, communications, and operations interns throughout the year. One perk of interning at NLIHC is the opportunity to attend events on the Hill. This Wednesday, our summer interns attended a Congressional Homelessness Caucus Briefing on Violence Against the Homeless, where they snagged a picture with Special Guest Susan Sarandon.

Left to right: Research Intern Shaina Castonguay; Policy Intern Francine Glaser; Susan Sarandon; Operations Intern Aliza Cohen; Field Intern Pilar Alatorre.

Left to right: Research Intern Shaina Castonguay; Policy Intern Francine Glaser; Susan Sarandon; Operations Intern Aliza Cohen; Field Intern Pilar Alatorre.

Stay tuned for blog posts from our current interns and more about the internship opportunities at NLIHC!

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NLIHC Field Team: What We Do

The NLIHC Field Team interacts with members of the Coalition and the general public (collectively known as “the field”). Broadly speaking, the Field Team works with the field to weigh in on housing policy issues. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Field Team collaborates extensively with both the Policy and Communications Teams at NLIHC.

As a coalition that represents the housing interests of the lowest income Americans, NLIHC’s greatest strength is our network. We work with people across the country to leverage our collective power as citizens. The more people who are involved in advocating, the greater influence we have in shaping housing policy to benefit the lowest income Americans.

One of the most important ways we engage people in housing advocacy work is through membership. The Field Team communicates directly with all of our members on a regular basis. When it’s time to mobilize the field, our members are some of the most active and well-informed housing advocates in the country.

Our members represent a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations, which ensures that all stakeholders are represented in our advocacy. Low income renters comprise a significant portion of our individual membership. Our organizational members include: direct service organizations, tenant groups, advocacy organizations, low income housing developers, government agencies, and small businesses. Chief among our members are our State Partners, who serve as the main point of contact for advocacy in their given states.

Through their membership dues, our members are also an essential part of how we maintain a high degree of financial independence. It is this independence that has allowed us to maintain an unwavering focus on the housing needs of the lowest income Americans for 40 years. Because of our members’ central importance to this mission, the Field Team takes great care to meet our members’ needs.

Ultimately, the Field Team has a broad range of responsibilities, from taking care of membership logistics to communicating with and mobilizing our field on critical housing issues. To learn more about the Field Team, you can contact the Housing Advocacy Organizer for your state.

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Membership Monday: Meet Our Field Team

NLIHC has a Field Team with different Housing Advocacy Organizers assigned to specific states. The Housing Advocacy Organizers are our members’ direct points of contact for answers to federal policy or membership questions. Members also hear from the Field Team when there is a federal housing issue that needs attention. Reach out to your state’s Field Team member to learn more about joining NLIHC, or if you are an active member, about how you can get more involved!

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, or Virginia, contact…

Dan Emmanuel | dan@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x316
Dan Emmanuel joined the NLIHC staff in November 2013. Dan completed his Master of Social Work degree from Saint Louis University in May 2013 with a concentration in community and organization practice. Since 2008, he has worked in a wide range of housing and community development contexts, including work at Saint Louis University’s Doerr Center for Social Justice and Community Housing Partners in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dan earned his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the College of William & Mary.

If you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, or West Virginia, contact…

Mary Kolar | mary@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x233
Mary joined the NLIHC staff in January 2011. Originally from the Washington, DC area, she graduated from Fordham University, after which she spent time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Following this experience, she worked for several years as an organizer for the New York City-based Tenants & Neighbors, an NLIHC partner. There, she focused on tenant issues in project-based Section 8 developments. Most recently, Mary worked with a grassroots community-based organization in Arlington, Virginia.

If you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming, contact…

Joseph Lindstrom | joseph@nlihc.org or 202-662-1530 x222
Joseph joined the NLIHC staff in February 2013, but he first worked with NLIHC in 2000 while organizing Wisconsin advocates in support of the National Housing Trust Fund campaign. He led campaigns in Madison, WI, on issues such as the local minimum wage, funding for homeless services, and eliminating housing discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher recipients. In addition to his advocacy and campaign work, Joseph has also worked in various direct service capacities including as a homeless outreach coordinator, tenant’s rights counselor, and workforce development professional. Joseph received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin with majors in political science and religious studies.

Check back on Wednesday for a post by the Field Team!

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NLIHC Research Team: What We Do

NLIHC’s research team uses the most recent housing data to create resources for our members and other advocates. For 40 years, NLIHC has made high quality research a priority because our founder, Cushing Dolbeare, understood the importance of having hard numbers to back up the assertion that a community, city, or state has a real need for more affordable housing. A typical day for the research team generally falls into three categories:

Rapid response to requests for information. We answer requests for data from our members, state coalition partners, the media, members of Congress, and other researchers in a timely manner. When the Washington Post wanted to create an interactive map showing the one-bedroom Housing Wage in each county, we made sure they had all the information they needed by their deadline. Since our members often lack the resources to conduct the same level of in-depth analysis that we can, they can request custom data analysis – a benefit of being an NLIHC member, so don’t be afraid to call us!

NLIHC’s standard research products. For 25 years, NLIHC has produced our flagship report, Out of Reach, which features the Housing Wage – the hourly wage someone needs to earn in order to afford a modest apartment. We calculate the Housing Wage for every county, metropolitan area, combined nonmetropolitan area, and state in the country; this helps inform the public and policymakers on the extent of America’s affordable housing crisis. NLIHC also produces Congressional District Profiles and State Housing Profiles. These one-page profiles pack in key data such as the shortage of units affordable and available to renters at different income levels, and the number of renters at different income levels who spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. We also produce Housing Spotlight, a series of occasional research briefs that use data from different sources to highlight a variety of housing issues.

One-time research projects. NLIHC is also always working on other research projects. In November of 2014, we released a report on the housing needs of veterans that was funded by the Home Depot Foundation. We continue to work with the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) to maintain and update the National Housing Preservation Database, an inventory of all federally subsidized properties in the country. In the coming months we will release findings from our Alignment Project, a comprehensive analysis of the incomes of households currently served by federal housing programs, and the strategies used by developers to achieve deep affordability without the use of federal housing vouchers.

All of the data that the research team collects and analyzes make it clear that those suffering most from a lack of affordable housing in America are the lowest income residents. NLIHC’s research team is committed to providing advocates with the tools needed to take that message to their local, state, and federal policymakers.

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