This week we’ve taken a look back at some of NLIHC’s favorite photos from 2011, facts that drive our advocacy, and member stories that inspire us. Still, it’s hard to deny that this year has been a crucial and at times challenging one for affordable housing. Between the FY12 T-HUD budget cuts and further losses looming in FY13, low income renters have been hit the hardest. Your support for our mission is needed more than ever. Help us protect and improve affordable housing for low income Americans with a donation this holiday season.

Looking back on 2011 and thinking ahead to the new challenges 2012 will bring, we asked our Policy Team to tell us the two most important requests for housing advocates to make of their Members of Congress with the new year. This is what they wanted to share with you:

1. The resources needed to preserve the existing affordable housing for extremely low income Americans.

This request may sound like asking for a lot of things at once. But for us it’s really that simple. Before the recession and before the words “Super Committee” had ever been uttered, there was already a great need for affordable housing. That need has only increased, and as we discussed on Tuesday, low income households are most likely to experience housing cost burdens. Budget cuts are causing vouchers to be lost when they’re needed more than ever. Flat funding has come to be the best case scenario for most housing programs, but it’s rarely enough to sustain the existing affordable housing. For example, in FY12, homeless assistance grants were flat funded (a level that fell below the president’s request). As a result of need outpacing funding, at least 492,000 households experiencing homelessness will not receive housing assistance in the coming year.

2. Capitalizing the National Housing Trust Fund to expand the supply of housing affordable to the lowest income households.

You’ve heard it once and you’ll hear it again, because it’s just that important. The National Housing Trust Fund is the best way that we can end the absolute shortage of housing affordable to ELI people for good. This past year we faced opposition, but we’re not going to stop pushing for the capitalization of the NHTF and neither should you! We at NLIHC are up to the task; we’re armed with data courtesy of our intrepid Research Team that will help make our case on Capitol Hill; we’re backed by the strength of passionate endorsers mobilized by our Outreach Team; and we have our Communications Team to help get a clear, powerful message out to the right people at the right time. However, we can only continue to make a quick and hard-hitting impact with your continued support.

To make a donation to NLIHC this holiday season, click here.

Tomorrow: 1 click to help protect housing for low income Americans, a message from NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley.