Each year, NLIHC recognizes excellence in advancing the cause of housing justice with awards for organizing and public education. The honorees will receive their awards for work completed in 2013 on Monday, April 28 at IMAGINE: NLIHC’s 2014 Housing Policy Conference. The conference will take place Sunday, April 27 through Wednesday, April 30 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
The fifth annual State and Local Organizing Award will be presented to a coalition of organizations that successfully campaigned to establish the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund. The Housing Opportunity Fund will provide funding for the construction or rehabilitation of rental or homeowner housing, preservation of affordable housing, home repair to increase accessibility and efficiency, homelessness prevention activities, as well as investing in community land trusts. The fund is targeted to low and moderate income families and individuals, with proposed projects that will serve extremely low income and very low income populations getting higher points in the review process.
The victory is the result of a three-year advocacy effort. In 2010, Habitat for Humanity – South Dakota began reaching out to other affordable housing organizations around the state, building a coalition committed to creating a state housing trust fund. With support from the Housing Trust Fund Project of the Center for Community Change, the coalition partners educated the public on the need for a housing trust fund and put together a legislative proposal. Members of the campaign steering committee developed communication materials and executed a strategy for mobilizing supporters across the state. Beginning in December 2012, the steering committee activated their respective networks to visit with legislators in their home districts.
In March 2013, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed the Housing Opportunity Fund into law. The fund has two dedicated sources of funding: a contractor’s excise tax and the state Unclaimed Property Fund. Together these will generate 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.
The second annual Resident Organizing Award will be presented to the Cook County Source of Income Protection Coalition for their success in getting Housing Choice Voucher holders included as a protected class under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance (CCHRO). Prior to this victory, the ordinance had protected individuals from source of income (SOI) discrimination, but specifically excluded voucher holders.
After many years and two unsuccessful attempts to amend CCHRO, Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) and Open Communities along with other Chicago area advocates reorganized efforts in 2011. The coalition successfully mobilized tenants and advocates, arguing that housing providers were refusing to rent to voucher holders as a legal way to discriminate and exclude people from housing based on race, national origin, familial status, and disability. MTO took the lead on larger organizing efforts, including letter writing campaigns and town hall meetings. The ordinance was finally amended to include voucher holders on May 13, 2013.
Congratulations to the 2014 State and Local Organizing and Resident Organizing honorees! Please come to NLIHC’s conference in April to help recognize their achievements.
Click here to learn more about the conference: www.cvent.com/d/b4ql92
Click here to REGISTER for the conference on line: www.cvent.com/d/b4ql92/4W
Click here to download a conference registration form (PDF): http://bit.ly/19CqaRe
Click here to register for Sunday’s “Brave New World” institute only: http://bit.ly/1gO3A8v
Reserve a Hotel Room at Special Conference Rate Now
A special room rate of $249 per night at the Marriott Wardman is available for conference attendees on a first come, first served basis. This special room rate will end on April 4.
Click here to reserve a room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel: http://bit.ly/1dEDu8P