Representatives of 22 NLIHC State Coalition Partner organizations gathered in Washington, D.C. for their semi-annual meeting on November 17-19. Throughout the meeting, the housing and homeless organizations highlighted the growing need for affordable housing production and rental assistance in their states, and emphasized the importance of partnership building across sectors to advance housing goals at the state and federal levels.
The attendees heard from representatives of Housing Action Illinois, the Minnesota Housing Partnership, New York State Tenants and Neighbors, and the Supportive Housing Network of New York (the Network) about their work to advance the United for Homes campaign in their states. They discussed media and field strategies, and shared their progress in gaining support from their congressional delegations. Consistently cited as a highly effective campaign resource were NLIHC’s county level data on mortgages over $500,000.
One session, focused on state-level activities concerning federal sequestration, featured panelists from the Utah Housing Coalition, Network, and Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. Advocates discussed strategies to communicate sequestration’s devastating impact to state and federal leaders and ways that their state governments have tried to mitigate the effects. UHC Executive Director Tara Rollins, an NLIHC board member, spoke about her organization’s media and education strategy, which includes a video that helps the public and state officials understand how sequestration will affect Section 8 voucher holders.
Greg Payne of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) and Bill Faith of the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio (COHHIO), both NLIHC board members, led an engaging session on building partnerships with organizations outside affordable housing. Mr. Faith discussed COHHIO’s progressive partnerships with organizations on voter suppression and human services program funding. Highlighted was the need to leverage resources among coalition members, as was the importance of assessing an organization’s capacity to advance a goal. MACH’s successful campaign bridging affordable housing production with job creation showed how the organization’s unprecedented partnerships with the contractor, architect, and engineering sectors led to significant achievements for Maine housing production (see Memo, 8/30). Mr. Payne shared Doing Well by Doing Good: The Economic Impact of Affordable Housing, a short film that campaign members developed to help state policy makers understand how creating affordable homes leads to more construction sector jobs.
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Executive Director Barbara Poppe discussed USICH’s initiative to connect the Affordable Care Act to housing and homelessness issues. State Partners asked questions about implementation of the act in their states and received helpful information on ways to advance local Medicaid expansion efforts. Ms. Poppe was joined by her USICH colleague, Richard Cho.
“Hearing what challenges other coalitions are facing reminded me that we are all in this together, even across state lines,” said Anna Strahs Watts, Virginia Housing Coalition housing program manager and a first-time meeting attendee. “We have a lot to talk about, and I’m excited to have new colleagues to brainstorm with as we head into the General Assembly season.”
View the UHC’s video on sequestration’s impact: https://vimeo.com/76861816
View Doing Well by Doing Good: The Economic Impact of Affordable Housing: http://bit.ly/1fmxWNV
NLIHC State Coalition Partners are housing and homeless advocacy organizations serving statewide or regional areas; they are the member organizations with which NLIHC works especially closely. Click here to learn more about the project. For more information, please contact State Coalition Project Director La’Teashia Sykes: firstname.lastname@example.org.