From the Field: Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development Hosts Housing Advocacy Day in Washington, DC

The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), an NLIHC state partner, hosted its annual housing advocacy day at the Washington, DC, City Council on April 24. CNHED holds this event after the mayor releases her budget in March and before the DC Council votes on the budget in late April or early May.

A representative from Councilmember Anita Bonds’s office kicked off the event, telling the crowd of approximately 100 D.C. residents, nonprofit developers, and housing advocates that the councilwoman, who chairs the Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, is committed to using the DC Housing Production Trust Fund to target the housing needs for those with incomes below 60% of the area median income (AMI). Councilmember Robert White then shared his affordable housing priorities, citing his “Economic Development Return on Investment” bill that would require the District to report on incentives provided to economic and affordable housing developments in the district.

(DC Councilmember Robert White addressing CNHED advocates. Courtesy of CNHED.)(DC Councilmember Robert White addressing CNHED advocates. Courtesy of CNHED.)

One participant asked Councilmember White what the Council was doing to assist public housing residents and if the Trust Fund is being used to maintain and repair public housing. Mr. White replied he did not want public housing to compete with Trust Fund affordable housing production, and that he would like to create a dedicated funding source to maintain public housing. “I don’t expect developers to be anything but developers,” Mr. White said, emphasizing the important work advocates and the D.C. Council must do to increase the affordable housing supply.

“The Council pays attention to and respects who shows up to represent and advocate for their interests,” said CNHED President and CEO Stephen Glaude during his remarks to those convened. “The fact that 100 resident leaders would come out for CNHED’s housing advocacy day will make a huge lasting statement about the importance of funding housing programs like the Housing Production Trust Fund.”

After the day’s kick-off convening, the participants formed groups to visit every DC Council office. NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer Kyle Arbuckle accompanied CNHED members to a meeting with Councilmember Bonds’ housing policy staffer to urge the council members to vote for increases to affordable housing funding. Mr. Arbuckle provided information about how D.C. residents with incomes at or below 30% of AMI face the greatest shortage of available and affordable housing and are the most housing cost-burdened of all DC residents, supporting CNHED’s request for increased affordable housing funding for those most in need.

NLIHC thanks CNHED for involving Mr. Arbuckle in this very successful advocacy day.