As the implementation of a new law consolidating the state housing programs moves forward, Louisiana advocates, including NLIHC state coalition partner the Louisiana Housing Alliance (LHA), continue their work to strengthen local voices across the state.
During the last legislative session, the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) was created to streamline the administration of 30 housing-related programs currently run by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, Louisiana Land Trust, Office of Community Development, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Children and Family Services (see Memo, 6/17/11). LHA is monitoring the appointment of the final four of 11 board members, and incorporating feedback from its August listening tour into its work to build strength in the field.
In addition to its education efforts, LHA is working to ensure the housing needs assessment required as part of the Consolidated Plan process includes a comprehensive evaluation of the quality of the state’s housing stock. Under the new law, the LHC has a Housing and Transportation Planning and Coordinating Committee to advise the Board of Directors on ways to integrate the planning processes and the use of housing and transportation resources by local officials. “LHA is excited to work with the Coordinating Committee to help their recommendations reflect the realities of our state’s housing stock,” said Marla Newman, Executive Director of LHA.
Following statewide elections in November, LHA hosted its annual membership meeting on December 1 and focused on the changed political landscape. “Now that elections are over, we are training our members to be more engaged advocates. We have a lot of first-time legislators and we are working with our field to educate policymakers on the needs of low income households in their communities,” said Ms. Newman.
“To build on the positive changes we made to the legislation creating the LHC, we know that legislators and members of LHC’s board will need to hear from informed constituents,” continued Ms. Newman. “By being involved in projects that are not directly related to our members’ immediate needs, we hope to expand the network of community members who support the work we do. Showing we are members of the community who are not exclusively interested in engagement when it suits our interests builds trust and goodwill that we anticipate will strengthen our efforts in the future.”
For more information, contact Marla Newman, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.