Following two days of informative sessions during NLIHC’s 2016 Housing Policy Forum, more than 100 advocates went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, April 5 to lobby Congress in support of expanding affordable housing for extremely low income renters. The advocates from 33 states visited 49 Senate and 118 House offices. They urged their Representatives to support Representative Maxine Water’s (D-CA) “Ending Homelessness Act of 2016” (H.R. 4888), which would dramatically expand funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). H.R. 4888 would provide $1.05 billion annually in mandatory spending for the NHTF and increase funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, Section 8 vouchers, and outreach efforts directed at homeless populations. Participants of the NLIHC Lobby Day also advocated for increased spending for affordable housing in the FY17 budget. Specifically, advocates asked their Senators and Representatives to support the President’s proposal for $11 billion in mandatory spending for homeless families over the next 10 years and to support the President’s request of more than $20.8 billion for housing vouchers in 2017. Advocates also urged Senators to support passage of the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” (H.R. 3700), which passed the House with unanimous support early this year.
“Lobby Day was an incredible experience for me as a resident, as an advocate, and as a person,” said Rachel Robinson of Neighbors United for Progress in Austin, TX. “It was an opportunity to speak on a level playing field about the political issues that affect me; I really had a voice. When I left, I felt empowered and confident to be a better advocate.”