The Louisiana Housing Alliance (LHA), an NLIHC State Coalition Partner, held its 2015 State Housing Conference from March 31 to April 1 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The theme of the conference was Promoting Growth and Sustainable Neighborhoods – Home Matters. In keeping with this theme, LHA kicked off its campaign to secure a dedicated revenue source for the Louisiana Housing Trust Fund (LHTF).
The conference began with a symposium on collective impact, exploring ways housing advocates can collaborate with non-traditional allies across sectors such as health and education in planning for affordable housing and community revitalization in Louisiana.
Following the symposium, participants attended workshops on a range of housing-related topics facilitated by housing and community development experts from across Louisiana. NLIHC staff members Ed Gramlich and Dan Emmanuel presented a workshop combining the topics of National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) implementation and effective advocacy. Katy Heins from the Center for Community Change conducted a workshop on messaging strategies designed to prepare advocates for the LHTF campaign.
A Housing Trust Fund Rally was the highlight of the second day of the conference. Local television media joined advocates from across the state for the rally at which LHA announced its campaign to secure a dedicated revenue source for the LHTF. State Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D), who will sponsor a bill to establish a dedicated source, spoke to the audience. Details about possible dedicated sources are not yet available.
The LHTF was established in 2003 to fund the production and rehabilitation of both rental and homeownership units targeted at households with income at or below 120% of the area median income (AMI). In 2007, the LHTF received a one-time allocation of $25 million. Since 2009, the LHTF has distributed $22 million, which leveraged $61 million in additional investment and facilitated the development of 323 homes. Of these homes:
- 105 were accessible to persons with disabilities
- 17 directly benefitted families experiencing homelessness
- 79 were for extremely low income families
- 122 were for low to moderate income families (50% - 120% AMI)
With an investment of $30 million per year, the LHTF could help produce more than 450 units of housing annually. LHA will continue to engage advocates throughout the 2015 session to push for legislation that establishes a dedicated source of revenue. A statewide lobby day is scheduled for May13.
"We accomplished our goal to create a platform and environment for collaboration and understanding where issues and opportunities intersect to highlight key elements to developing not just housing-but creating true communities. Creating an environment and platform where all voices are critical - none are too small," said Marla Newman, Louisiana Housing Alliance Executive Director.
For more information, contact Marla Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.