End Homelessness and Housing Poverty

Policy_logo_2014Dear Friend,

Throughout our history, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has been a trusted voice with Members of Congress on the lack of affordable housing for the poorest people in our country – the root cause of homelessness and housing poverty in America. We have consistently advocated with Congress to enact legislation to protect and increase low income housing resources.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, NLIHC is constrained in the amount of direct and grassroots lobbying we can do. Since our early days in the 1970s, we have had both the 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, but from 1996 to 2014, National Low Income Housing Policy Center, the (c)(4), was inactive for lack of resources.

In 2014, we reactivated the Policy Center with an extremely generous $200,000 grant from the Oak Foundation and with contributions from individuals and organizations who wished to directly support our advocacy efforts. The Policy Center is a vital part of our mission, allowing us to be a leading voice for specific legislation that protects public housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Rental Housing Assistance, the National Housing Trust Fund, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure and much more. (The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Policy Center are both strictly nonpartisan, never engage in electoral politics and never endorse any candidates for political office.)

Please make a contribution today to the National Low Income Housing Coalition or the National Low Income Housing Policy Center.*

Help us end homelessness and housing poverty by ensuring there are sufficient affordable and decent homes for people with the lowest incomes in the United States.

Click Here to Donate Today! http://nlihc.org/donate

Thank you.
Yours in advocacy,

Sheila Crowley
President and CEO

*Contributions to the National Low Income Housing Coalition are tax-deductible. Contributions to the National Low Income Housing Policy Center are not.

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ConnectHome: Bridging the Digital Gap

ConnectHomeBy Trevor Smith

In an age where we are constantly connected to the web through our smartphones, tablets, and the myriad of other technological devices, the Internet has become a critical source of information for most of Americans.

Unfortunately, some people cannot afford the luxury of a smartphone, or even a home Internet subscription, and are consequently falling behind their digitally-connected peers.

To rectify this problem, President Barack Obama announced on June 6 a new program called ConnectHome, which will bring high-speed Internet to low income communities throughout the nation. The initiative aims to close the troubling digital divide between those who can afford an Internet subscription and those who cannot.

According to a White House fact sheet, the program will launch in 27 cities and one tribal nation. It will initially provide 275,000 low income households and nearly 200,000 children with access to the Internet at home for as little as $9.95 a month or, in some instances, for free.

“If we don’t get these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss; it’s not just their loss,” President Obama said at the program’s unveiling in Durant, Oklahoma.

The fact sheet explains that while nearly two-thirds of our nation’s lowest-income households own a computer, less than half have a home Internet subscription. This disparity creates a “homework gap” between those who can use the Internet for further research and those who go home to a digital void. For the latter, who usually live in low income neighborhoods, they are at a serious disadvantage in their efforts to further their education outside the classroom—a problem that is likely to impact them throughout their academic lives and beyond.

The Obama Administration has had an interest in connecting students with the digital world for some time now. ConnectHome comes as an extension of the President’s ConnectEd program, which has provided 98 percent of students from kindergarten through 12th grade with high-speed Internet in classrooms and libraries.

Kids today are growing up in a world where the constant barrage of daily information and news is hard enough to keep up with—even when they are fortunate enough to have immediate access to the internet through numerous devices. Those who aren’t so lucky don’t have the same opportunities to enrich their education, which in turn makes them less prepared to compete in an increasingly digital world.

It’s great that the Obama Administration has recognized that a home is much more than a place where you go to lay your head; it also should be a place where you learn, mature, and thrive. Hopefully this initiative will help move those who find themselves stuck in the digital dark ages towards greater access to information and resources.

pic for blog

Trevor Smith is a senior journalism student at the American University. Originally from Germantown, MD, he spent the majority of his childhood in Asia. Upon graduation, Trevor hopes to work for a non-profit in a communications role, in hopes of informing the public on the social issues that matter. Follow him on Twitter @tsmith1211

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Caps Hurt Communities Campaign

xx2As part of the Caps Hurt Communities Campaign, we are asking all advocates on Twitter to use the power of social media to tell Congress to protect homes, families, and communities by lifting the federal sequester caps.

From July 27 – July 31,  please use #CapsHurt in your Tweets that call attention to ending federal sequester caps.  Please consider using the following sample tweets:

  • LIFT the unfair budget caps and END the sequester cuts for a stronger and more prosperous America.  #CapsHurt http://bit.ly/1DhlV7e
  • Families thrive because of housing&community development investments. #Congress should increase #AffordableHousing resources. #CapsHurt
  • America is stronger and prosperous when we have decent, affordable homes & stable communities. #CapsHurt http://bit.ly/1DhlV7e
  • Congress must lift spending caps& increase resources to protect #affordablehousing for low income families and communities. #CapsHurt

Caps Hurt Communities is an advocacy campaign to build a movement of individuals and organizations committed to bringing an end to federal sequester caps. It is being coordinated at the national level by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), a coalition of national organizations dedicated to adequate federal housing and community development funding for lower income families and communities.

For additional information regarding this campaign, please visit www.capshurtcommunities.org where you can join the campaign and receive updates. Advocates are also encouraged to contact NLIHC’s Field Team at outreach@nlihc.org for more information and assistance with advocacy efforts.

Click here to join the campaign 

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New York Voters Express Strong Support for More Federal Funding to Increase Affordable Housing to Address Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and two of its state partners, the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Information Service and the Supportive Housing Network of New York, released the findings of a state-wide public opinion poll that measured New York registered voter support for changing the mortgage interest deduction, addressing homelessness, and creating more affordable housing. A sizable majority of registered New York voters surveyed expressed support for increasing federal funding for affordable housing to address homelessness. They also expressed strong support for partnerships between state and local governments to create permanent housing with support services for homeless people with disabilities.

The polling was conducted from June 1 through June 5, 2015 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and Belden Russonello Strategists LLC. Sixty-eight percent of New York voters polled supported increasing federal funding for affordable housing to help end homelessness. While most respondents expressed support for the mortgage interest deduction (MID), they also expressed considerable support for reforms that would make the deduction fairer and less regressive, and more than half said they would apply any savings from MID reform to ending homelessness.

Fifty-eight percent of New York voters favored capping the amount of a mortgage against which homeowners can claim a tax break to $500,000 (down from $1 million currently). Only 33% opposed lowering the cap.  Forty-nine percent supported replacing the mortgage interest deduction (which only those who earn enough to itemize on their taxes can claim and that disproportionately benefits households in the highest tax brackets) with a 15% tax credit that all homeowners with a mortgage could claim.  Only 40% opposed such a change.

“New York voters’ support for smart investments to end homelessness is extremely encouraging,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “With these modest changes to the mortgage interest deduction, we could end homelessness in New York and nationally without any additional cost to the federal government.”

In response to a question about whether or not New York voters support the state government partnering with their local governments to create permanent housing with support services for homeless people with disabilities in communities, a resounding 72% said they were in favor of creating such homes.

“New Yorkers understand that our state is in desperate need of more affordable housing and services for our lowest income residents and people with disabilities,” said Laura Mascuch, Executive Director of Supportive Housing Network of New York. “We must make ending homelessness a state and national priority.”

The survey of 625 registered voters in New York was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, DC and Jacksonville, Florida, from questions written by Belden Russonello Strategists LLC of Washington, DC. Interviews were conducted by telephone, both landlines and cell phones, from June 1 through June 5, 2015.  The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To read full details of the survey, please click the following link.

http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NewYork_Topline.pdf

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Connecticut Voters Express Strong Support for More Federal Funding to Increase Affordable Housing to Address Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Connecticut Housing Coalition, a NLIHC state partner, have released the findings of a state-wide public opinion poll that measured Connecticut registered voter support for changing the mortgage interest deduction, addressing homelessness, and creating more affordable housing.  A majority of registered Connecticut voters surveyed expressed support for increasing federal funding for affordable housing to address homelessness; about half stated that Connecticut has not developed an adequate range of housing choices to meet the needs of all people in the state.  Approximately half of participating Connecticut voters also expressed support for reforms to the mortgage interest deduction that would generate resources to be used to address homelessness.

The polling was conducted from May 14th through May 20th, 2015 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and Belden Russonello Strategists LLC.  Seventy-one percent of Connecticut voters polled supported increasing federal funding for affordable housing to help end homelessness.  While most respondents expressed support for the mortgage interest deduction (MID), they also expressed considerable support for reforms that would make the deduction fairer and less regressive; 53% said they would prioritize applying any savings from MID reform to ending homelessness. Fifty-one percent said they would prioritize reducing the federal deficit with those savings.

Forty-seven percent of participating Connecticut voters favored capping the amount of a mortgage against which homeowners can claim a tax break at $500,000 (down from $1 million currently).  Just 43% opposed lowering the cap.  Forty-five percent supported replacing the mortgage interest deduction (which only those who earn enough to itemize on their taxes can claim and that disproportionately benefits households in the highest tax brackets) with a 15% tax credit that all homeowners with a mortgage could claim.  About the same number (47%) opposed such a change.

“Connecticut voters’ support for more federal investments to end homelessness is extremely encouraging,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Connecticut’s elected officials should read these polling results as a clear message that Connecticut voters support changes in the mortgage interest deduction.”

Connecticut voters were also asked if they thought Connecticut had an adequate range of housing choices to meet the needs of all people in the state; 49% responded no.  Betsy Crum, Executive Director of Connecticut Housing Coalition, stated, “These poling results clearly show that Connecticut voters are behind Governor Malloy’s goal to end homelessness across the state.”

The survey of 625 registered voters in Connecticut was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, DC and Jacksonville, Florida, from questions written by Belden Russonello Strategists LLC of Washington, DC. Interviews were conducted by telephone, both landlines and cell phones, from May 14 to 20th, 2015.  The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To read all details of the survey, please click the following link.

http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Connecticut_topline.pdf

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New Jersey Voters Express Strong Support for More Federal Funding for Affordable Homes to Address Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a NLIHC state partner released the findings of a state-wide public opinion poll that measured New Jersey registered voter support for changing the mortgage interest deduction, addressing homelessness, and creating more affordable homes. A sizable majority of registered New Jersey voters surveyed expressed support for increasing federal funding for affordable home development to address homelessness as well as opposition to cutting state funding for affordable homes to address the state’s budget deficit. Approximately half of New Jersey voters also expressed support for reforms to the mortgage interest deduction that would generate resources to be used to address homelessness.

The polling of 625 New Jersey registered voters was conducted from June 15 through June 17, 2015 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and Belden Russonello Strategists LLC. Sixty-four percent of New Jersey voters polled supported increasing federal funding for affordable homes to help end homelessness. While most respondents expressed support for the mortgage interest deduction (MID), they also expressed considerable support for reforms that would make the deduction fairer and less regressive, and about half said they would apply any savings from MID reform to ending homelessness.

Fifty-one percent of New Jersey voters favored capping the amount of a mortgage against which homeowners can claim a tax break to $500,000 (down from $1 million currently). Only 38% opposed lowering the cap. Likewise, 50% supported replacing the mortgage interest deduction (which only those who earn enough to itemize on their taxes can claim and that disproportionately benefits households in the highest tax brackets) with a 15% tax credit that all homeowners with a mortgage could claim.  Only 40% opposed such a change.

“New Jersey voters’ support for smart investments to end homelessness is extremely encouraging,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “With these modest changes to the mortgage interest deduction, we could end homelessness in New Jersey and nationally without any additional cost to the federal government.”

When asked if they approve or disapprove of the New Jersey state government cutting funds intended for creating more affordable homes in order to reduce the state’s budget deficit, a resounding 66% “disapproved” and only 27% “approved” of such cuts.

“Our elected officials need to invest in ways to create more of the affordable homes New Jersey residents need and want,” said Staci Berger, President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. “This polling shows that voters want New Jersey’s budget to spur opportunity and help our economy and residents thrive.”

Housing advocates have called on funding for the National Housing Trust Fund as a means to create affordable rental homes for extremely low income families, thereby reducing homelessness. Several funding proposals are currently under consideration in Congress including reforming the mortgage interest deduction.

The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points. To read details of the survey, please visit the following link:  http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NJ_toplines.pdf

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Oregon Voters Express Strong Support for More Federal Funding to Increase Affordable Housing to Address Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Oregon Opportunity Network, a NLIHC state partner, released the findings of a state-wide public opinion poll that measured Oregon registered voter support for changing the mortgage interest deduction, addressing homelessness, and creating more affordable housing. A sizable majority of registered Oregon voters surveyed expressed support for increasing federal funding for affordable housing to address homelessness and for increased state investments in building homes for homeless and low-income families. Most Oregon voters also expressed support for reforms to the mortgage interest deduction that would generate resources to be used to address homelessness.

The polling was conducted from May 26-28, 2015 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and Belden Russonello Strategists LLC. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon voters polled supported increasing federal funding for affordable housing to help end homelessness. While most respondents expressed support for the mortgage interest deduction (MID), they also expressed considerable support for reforms that would make the deduction fairer and less regressive, and more Oregonian voters would dedicate the dollars saved to ending homelessness rather than to lowering federal income taxes.

Fifty-seven percent of Oregon voters favored capping the amount of a mortgage against which homeowners can claim a tax break to $500,000 (down from $1 million currently).  Only 34% opposed lowering the cap. Forty-five percent supported replacing the mortgage interest deduction (which only those who earn enough to itemize on their taxes can claim and that disproportionately benefits households in the highest tax brackets) with a 15% tax credit that all homeowners with a mortgage could claim. Forty-three percent opposed such a change.

“Oregon voters’ support for smart investments to end homelessness is extremely encouraging,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “With these modest changes to the mortgage interest deduction, we could end homelessness in Oregon and nationally without any additional cost to the federal government.”

Fifty-seven percent of Oregon voters also said they supported the Governor’s recent efforts to increase state bond funding to build new homes for homeless and low-income families in the state. On June 6, the Oregon state legislature passed an unprecedented $60 million bond initiative to fund affordable housing programs.   “This poll confirms the strong support that voters in Oregon have for increases in both federal and state funding to end homelessness and housing instability in our state,” said John Miller, Executive Director of Oregon Opportunity Network.

The survey of 625 registered voters in Oregon was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, DC and Jacksonville, Florida, from questions written by Belden Russonello Strategists LLC of Washington, DC. Interviews were conducted by telephone, both landlines and cell phones, from May 26 through May 28, 2015.  The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To read all details of the survey, please click the following link: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/combined_presentation_071515.pdf

CONTACT:    Renee Willis, rwillis@nlihc.org (202) 662-1530 x247

Desi Bellamy, Communications and Development Manager (503) 223-4041 x103

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