The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect back on the year’s accomplishments. We continue our countdown with 3 Inspiring Local Advocacy Stories from NLIHC’s Outreach Team.

Every week in Memo to Members, our Outreach Team shares a story “From the Field.” These articles cover current updates from an NLIHC organizational member and spotlight state-level housing policy issues and action. We asked our three Outreach Associates to share a bit about their favorite “From the Field” article of 2011.

Patrice Guillory, Southeast and West
North Carolina Advocates Rally Bipartisan Support for Housing Trust Fund Revenue
July 8, 2011

One of my best stories from the field comes from our state coalition partner in North Carolina. The North Carolina Housing Coalition (NCHC) led a broad-based coalition of social service providers to oppose the North Carolina legislature’s 2011-2013 “cuts-only” approach to the state’s deficit. In late June, the legislature overturned the Governor’s veto of the cuts-only budget and housing in particular took an enormous hit. NCHC and its allies in the legislature decided that in order to avoid the appropriations process, the state housing trust fund would have to be included in the revenue distribution to land conservation funds. This mirrors the work NLIHC is doing on the national scale as we work to secure permanent funding for the National Housing Trust Fund. We face similar issues on various levels, and the local stories help inspire our work to impact federal policy.

La’Teashia Sykes, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic
Utah Advocates Advance Recommendations to Improve State Landlord Program

April 22, 2011

My favorite article of 2011 highlights the work of Utah Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner, and their successful efforts to pass a law that prohibits an owner from taking action against a renter for requesting assistance from a public safety agency. Municipalities in Utah began imposing fees on landlords to cover the cost of emergency calls to rental properties. The program resulted in discrimination, allowing landlords to deny housing to people with criminal records, those who were previously homeless, and people with mental and physical disabilities. Utah Housing Coalition partnered with local and national advocates to change this policy. This article is a great example of how NLIHC works with local and national advocates to advocate for just housing policies. I enjoy writing “From the Field” articles for Memo to Members because it really helps state and local housing advocates see the connection between efforts in their own communities, and our efforts at the federal level.

Mary Kolar, Northeast and Midwest
Connecticut Tenants and Advocates Celebrate Advances in Resident Participation
July 1, 2011

I really enjoyed covering the efforts of the Public Housing Resident Network and the Connecticut Housing Coalition to increase the rights of public housing residents throughout the state. Tenants and advocates advanced three bills on residents’ rights to participation. They had exciting victories! Two of the bills were successfully passed, and the third was not passed but the state is addressing it administratively. H.B. 6461 gave public housing residents in Connecticut the right to elect the Tenant Commissioners of local housing authorities (previously the position was filled by mayoral appointment). S.B. 1076 made resident participation mandatory in proposed plans for disposition and revitalization of state-operated public housing developments. Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community development is addressing the third issue raised by advocates – developing and adopting regulations establishing a grievance procedure for public housing residents.

It was really interesting to hear more about how residents in Connecticut are advocating for themselves. They worked to educate their legislators and to make their voices heard, and they had a unified message.

If you support our work to connect state and local advocacy organizations with federal policymakers, and with one another, please make a year-end donation to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Your generous donation of any amount will help us start the new year strong. Donate at our secure website, here.