The core message of the 2017 NLIHC Lobby Day was the importance of affordable housing programs for those with the lowest incomes and the devastating impacts President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts would have on people and communities nationwide. Advocates emphasized the critical role federal housing dollars play in their communities and the need to increase those investments, rather than limit them. By meeting in person with members of Congress and sharing stories of those who have benefited from federally funded affordable housing, advocates personalized the nation’s affordable housing crisis and the need to support programs that would benefit the nearly 10 million extremely low income households struggling to pay rent each month and the half-million individuals who are homeless.More than 130 NLIHC members visited their Congressional delegations on Tuesday, April 4, the final day of the 2017 NLIHC Housing Policy Forum, to discuss the importance of affordable housing and the need to protect and expand HUD and USDA-Rural Development budgets. Advocates representing 29 states visited more than 85 House and 40 Senate offices. They brought with them copies of recent NLIHC publications and data as well as the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) report, A Place to Call Home.
When meeting with House offices, advocates encouraged their representatives to support Representative Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) “Common Sense Housing Investment Act” (H.R. 948), which would modify the mortgage interest deduction and put the savings, an estimated $241 billion over 10 years, into affordable housing programs serving those with the greatest needs. Advocates urged their senators to support the “Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017” (S. 548), introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). S. 548 would incentivize using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) for extremely low income households, allow LIHTC financing for mixed income developments, and encourage LIHTC developments in Native American communities. It would also expand the credit by 50%, allowing it to serve more individuals and families. In addition, advocates encouraged their members of Congress to protect and expand the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF). They shared with their members about the HTF’s first year of funding and states’ plans to leverage the funds for greater investment in housing that serves extremely low income renters.