More than 300 people gathered on the evening of Monday, November 17 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. NLIHC was founded in 1974 by Cushing Dolbeare. The event was held at the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC near the former home of Cushing and Louis Dolbeare. NLIHC’s first office was in the garage of their home.
The highlight of the evening was a video by Louis Dolbeare in which he recalls NLIHC’s early days. Louis, who is 98 years old and lives in Seattle, attended the event accompanied by his grandson Emmanuel O’Kane. Louis graciously greeted many old friends. To see the video, go to http://nlihc.org/40years/video.
NLIHC Board Chair Brenda Clement emceed the program. She asked several different groups of attendees to identify themselves by their affiliation with NLIHC. She also announced that the NLIHC Board of Directors had voted to form the NLIHC Leadership Council to be composed of former chairs of the NLIHC board and our earlier sister organization, the Low Income Housing Information Service, and former CEOs. Attending the event were former NLIHC board chairs Andy Mott, Karen Hill, Rafael Torres, Bill Faith, and George Moses; former LIHIS board chairs Preddy Ray, Belinda Mayo and Lydia Tom (Hill and Torres also served as LIHIS board chairs); and former NLIHC CEOs Barry Zigas, Bob Adams, and Helen Dunlap. It was a testament to how important NLIHC and Cushing Dolbeare are to them that the three living former CEOs and all but two of the living former chairs were there together.
NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley spoke about Cushing Dolbeare as her friend and teacher, and encouraged people to honor Cushing by supporting NLIHC’s Dolbeare Endowment. She read a statement from President Barack Obama congratulating NLIHC on its 40th anniversary. Crowley talked about being an advocate in Washington, DC, remarking “People say that being an advocate on behalf of the poor means taking the long view. My response is that the long view surely isn’t good enough for those kids sleeping over at the shelter at DC General tonight. They need safe and stable homes now, before it is too late for them.”
The program closed with a performance by Split This Rock, the DC-based youth poetry troupe, who presented an original work composed for NLIHC called “Imagine.” To read the poem, go to http://nlihc.org/40years/poem.
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) recognized NLIHC’s 40th anniversary with a statement that appeared in the Congressional Record. Ms. Waters said, “NLIHC’s most notable achievement to date has been its work towards creating the National Housing Trust Fund in 2008…The NHTF, funded to scale, is the most promising way for our nation to end the affordable housing shortage.” To read the full statement, go to http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Waters_CR_Statement.pdf.
Everyone who attended the event received a gift of a 40th anniversary commemorative poster. To view the poster, go to http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/40th_Illustration-Poster.pdf.
The event was made possible by the generosity of many donors. To see the full list of donors, go to http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/40th_Anniversary_Donors.pdf.