NLIHC 2016-8119

Stephen Glaude, Executive Director of CNHED, speaking at NLIHC’s Housing Policy Forum after winning the 2016 Organizing Award 

By Sarah Jemison, Housing Advocacy Organizer at NLIHC  

Across the country, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) organizational members are working to expand housing opportunity, empower residents, and increase the accessibility and affordability of rental housing. Each spring, we recognize an organization that has gone above and beyond to further affordable housing with our Organizing Award. This year, NLIHC offered the 2016 Organizing Award to the Washington D.C.-based Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) for the Housing for All Campaign. Stephen Glaude, the Executive Director of CNHED, and Elizabeth Falcon, the organization’s Director of Housing Policy, received the award.

In this blog post, we provide you more details about CNHED and other top entries we received for this competition. NLIHC appreciates the outstanding work done by these organizations in the realm of affordable housing and community development.

Community Alliance of Tenants, Portland, Oregon (Finalist)

In response to a tightening rental market and rising rental costs in Portland, Oregon, Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT), a Portland-based tenant membership organization, engaged in new avenues of tenant organizing and leadership development in order to amplify the voices of tenants and to expand affordable housing throughout the state. In 2015, CAT established a four-part organizing, leadership, and education development program designed to train low-income residents in mobilization and renter advocacy. The first cohort of advocates to graduate from the pilot program was a group of Hispanic mothers and families in East Portland who founded Latinos Organizados por Viviendas Economicas y Seguras (LOVES). Through LOVES, these mothers and families have become leaders in their community, organizing residents, deepening community knowledge of renters’ rights, and assisting in CAT’s broader mobilization efforts. Beyond their training programs, CAT has amplified the voices of low income Portlanders through campaigns at the state and local level. Responding to an escalating rental housing crisis, punctuated by a series of building-wide evictions, CAT and its local partners declared a Renter State of Emergency in September of 2015. In the subsequent month, CAT launched a media campaign and held a rally featuring two tenant families who had been recently evicted. Following CAT’s activism, elected officials passed an ordinance that secures tenants a 90-day notice period prior to no-cause evictions or rent increases over 5%, and city and county governments committed over $100 million in new funds to affordable housing and services. Finally, CAT continued their organizing at the state level, traveling to the state capital of Salem with 65 tenant leaders to advocate for expanding funding for housing, advocacy that ultimately resulted in an additional $62 million in state funding for housing programs.

Tenants & Neighbors, New York, NY (Finalist)

In 2015, Tenants & Neighbors grassroots coalition of resident organizations and neighborhood groups achieved the first ever rent freeze for rent controlled units in New York. As neighborhoods across New York have gentrified, low and moderate income tenants have faced rising rents, decreased housing stock, and displacement. Over former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year term, the mayor-appointed Rent Guidelines Board, which oversees rent-stabilized units, approved rent increases, such that more than a third of rent-stabilized tenants in New York City now pay over half of their income toward rent. In the midst of this crisis, Tenants & Neighbors has sought to organize, support, and empower tenants who face the loss of affordability and the potential of displacement. In 2015, Tenants & Neighbors coordinated neighborhood organizations and advocacy groups from across the city in support of a rent freeze for rent-stabilized units. Through a campaign that included developing messaging supportive of a rent freeze, mobilizing elected officials to support the measure, and organizing tenants around the issue, Tenants & Neighbors achieved a rent freeze for rent stabilized tenants with one year lease renewals, a first in the 45 year history of the Rent Guidelines Board. This monumental victory would not have been possible without the leadership of Tenants & Neighbors.

Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development, Noblesville, IN (Finalist)

Working in a suburban environment, the Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development (HAND), Inc. of Noblesville, Indiana, is a small nonprofit developer dedicated to expanding affordable housing for low and moderate income renters and homeowners. In 2015, faced with the stark reality of disparate impact within the Indiana rental market and an environment long resistant to subsidized projects, HAND built grassroots support for the expansion of affordable housing in Hamilton County. In advance of Indiana’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) revision, HAND mobilized tenants, area businesses, and others in support of expanding funding for affordable housing in the Hamilton County area. Through this process, HAND brought the affordability crisis and the funding process to the attention of policy makers and constituents alike. As HAND was expanding its advocacy work and raising support for affordable housing, the organization also campaigned for county funding for affordable housing projects, ultimately receiving support from their County Council in the form of funding for two affordable housing developments with a total of 84 units. Despite working in an area long opposed to housing subsidies, HAND has highlighted housing affordability as a vital element of economic growth and community stability.

Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, Washington, D.C. (Winner)

Working with advocates and local government in Washington, D.C., the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) has countered D.C.’s growing affordability crisis through a multi-year campaign called Housing for All. Mobilizing over 100 organizations and 4000 individuals, CNHED worked with a wide range of housing oriented non-profits across D.C. to draw attention to affordable housing and the impact of rising rents in the District. Central to CNHED’s organizing strategy was resident engagement; through advocacy trainings, opportunities for residents to meet with members of the D.C. Council, and the establishment of a Resident Leadership Team, CNHED built a strong base of resident support and activism. CNHED’s rallies, meetings, and calls to action ultimately led to a massive expansion of support for affordable housing in the District in the form of an annual $100 million investment in the D.C. Housing Production Trust Fund and increased funding for the Permanent Supportive Housing Program and the Local Rent Supplement Program. Stephen Glaude, CNHED’s Executive Director, expressed his organization’s deep gratitude to be awarded NLIHC’s Housing Organizer award and reminded the attendees of the forum, “this award also serves as a reminder that much work still needs to be done to achieve affordable housing for low-income residents.”