NLIHC’s 2014 Media Award, State and Local Organizing Award, and Resident Organizing Award were presented on April 28 at the morning plenary during IMAGINE: NLIHC’s 2014 Housing Policy Conference. The awards were presented by NLIHC Board Members Marla Newman, Rachael Myers, Daisy Franklin, and Bob Palmer.
The NLIHC Media Award recognizes print journalists who make a dedicated effort to inform the public about the inequities in housing and to add to the understanding of the disparities between the well housed and the poorly or un-housed in our country. The State and Local Organizing Award recognizes an NLIHC member organization for outstanding achievement for organizing activity at the state or local level that furthers the mission of NLIHC. The Resident Organizing Award recognizes the outstanding organizing, empowerment, and advocacy achievements of NLIHC member resident-shaped campaigns that further the mission of NLIHC.
NLIHC’s 2014 Media Award was presented to staff writers of the Observer-Reporter for the series, “No Place to Call Home.” The Observer-Reporter is a daily newspaper of southwestern Pennsylvania, circulating in Washington, Greene and southern Allegheny counties. Staff who worked on the series are: Liz Rogers, editor; Denise Bachman, managing editor for production; Jon Stevens, Greene County bureau chief; Karen Mansfield, staff writer; Barbara Miller, staff writer; Jim McNutt, photographer; Katie Roupe, photographer; and Mallory Rogers, Trinity High School student contributor.
“‘No Place to Call Home’ not only illustrates the issue, but also addresses it directly,” described Marla Newman in the presentation of the Media Award. In addition to profiling families and individuals struggling with homelessness and reviewing local shelters and resources, the Observer-Reporter established charitable funds at the Washington County Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greene County. As of December 14, 2013, more than $23,000 has been donated to the “No Place to Call Home” funds by readers and community members.
View the “No Place to Call Home” series online at http://bit.ly/1rXG9j2.
The South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund Campaign was awarded the fifth annual State and Local Organizing Award for their campaign to establish a state housing trust fund. The South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund (SDHOF) was signed into law in March 2013 by Governor Dennis Daugaard (R). With two dedicated sources of revenue, the SDHOF will receive an estimated $5 million annually once the fund is fully operational in FY15. South Dakota now has one of the most robust state housing trust funds per capita in the United States.
Accepting the award on the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund Campaign’s behalf were Patty Bacon, from Habitat for Humanity – South Dakota, and Lori Moen, from GROW South Dakota.
The third annual Resident Organizing Award was presented to the Cook County Source of Income Protection Coalition, for its successful campaign to get Housing Choice Voucher holders included as a protected class under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance (CCHRO).
Prior to this victory, Housing Choice Voucher holders were specifically excluded as a protected class under the CCHRO. After nearly a decade and two unsuccessful attempts, Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) and Open Communities, along with other Chicago area advocates, reorganized and formed the Cook County Source of Income Protection Coalition. On May 13, 2013, the CCHRO was finally amended to require that all tenants have the opportunity to be screened for a prospective unit equally. The ordinance also outlaws charging larger security deposits solely because a tenant has a voucher.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Cook County Source of Income Protection Coalition were Shirley Johnson, from MTO, and Brendan Saunders, from Open Communities.