NLIHC is pleased to announce that Housing Arkansas is its newest state coalition partner, further expanding its network to 62 state coalitions in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Founded in 2008, Housing Arkansas works to address the need for affordable housing through a state housing trust fund. More than 100 organizations have joined the coalition since that time, including groups working on homelessness, community development, domestic violence, senior issues, fair housing and supportive housing, in addition to churches, banks, local businesses and foundations.
Housing Arkansas’ advocacy led to the establishment of the state’s housing trust fund in 2009. Administered by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, the trust fund has an advisory committee composed of 11 representatives. As the enabling legislation was developed, Housing Arkansas worked to ensure the committee’s composition reflected important constituencies. Its seats must be filled by an assisted housing resident; homeless advocate; affordable housing developer; advocates representing rural, special needs, and affordable and public housing populations; and a consumer advocate. Representatives of the financial, real estate and economic development sectors round out the committee.
The finance agency, in consultation with the advisory committee, has worked to develop criteria to guide disbursement of trust fund resources. The legislation requires incentives that encourage the development of housing for people with very low incomes (at or below 50% of the area median), those living in rural areas, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, the elderly and victims of domestic violence. As trust fund expenditures are evaluated, data must document the number of units that have been made available to households earning 30% or less of the area median income. In addition, future evaluations must include information on the extent to which trust fund activity will minimize negative impacts on existing tenants and community members, with a particular emphasis on those displaced by developments funded with trust fund resources.
“We are very happy to be a part of NLIHC’s state coalition network,” said Rev. Steve Copley, Chair of Housing Arkansas. “As we continue to pursue initial funding for our trust fund, being able to connect with advocates from across the nation will help us learn what has worked elsewhere and strengthen our efforts to ensure that everyone in Arkansas has a safe and affordable place to call home.”
For a list of NLIHC’s State Coalition Partners and more information about the State Coalition Project, visit http://nlihc.org/partners/map.cfm or contact Elisha Harig-Blaine, State Coalition Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202- 662-1530, x316.