By Justin Godard, NLIHC housing advocacy organizer

This week, NLIHC is celebrating membership month by highlighting the crucial ways in which our members help us create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration. Our dialogue is not just with elected officials and academics; low income renters with lived experience are an essential voice in our work and provide essential leadership in our movement. We kicked off our 2018 Policy Forum by welcoming more than 90 resident leaders to a special session titled “Resident Session: Movement Building and You.”

The session focused on how residents can tap into their own communities, organize, and lead movements for housing in their own communities. Dr. J Otis Smith, principal of Stand By Systems II, Inc. opened up the session by urging residents to tap into their leadership potential and be deliberate about building teams that make positive social impact and transformative change.

The annual resident session would not be possible without the support of NLIHC members! Join today!

Dr J Otis Smith
Dr. J. Otis Smith leads a discussion on how residents can organize to achieve the greatest impact

The session featured examples where residents mobilized and demanded their voices be heard such as in Charlottesville, VA. Following their meeting at a prior NLIHC Resident Session, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign teamed up with the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) of Charlottesville, an NLIHC member, to create a Section 3 exchange program between public housing residents, resident leaders, and Housing Authority leaders from Chicago and Charlottesville. Both Willie “J.R.” Fleming, Executive Director of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and Joy Johnson, PHAR Board Member, shared how they were able to make the exchange a reality through collective action organizing.

“I enjoyed hearing how folks are organizing campaigns around the country,” said resident leader Whittier Dow of Philadelphia, PA. “It was interesting hearing about the impacts regular tenants had made through organizing their campaigns and how dedicated they were to their causes.”

Whitter Dow
NLIHC member Whittier Dow at the 2018 Resident Session

Events such as these are only possible through the support and contribution made by our members. Consider supporting this work and join us!

This blog is part of a series of blogs highlighting NLIHC member-driven advocacy successes for Membership Month. Find out more about Membership Month at: