Series of Educational Tours Launched by Utah Housing Coalition

By: Tara Rollins, Utah Housing Coalition Executive Director

The Utah Housing Coalition is dedicated to building equitable and sustainable communities to ensure all Utahans have a safe and affordable place to live. We do this through education, community partnerships, and advocacy at all levels of government. As a proud member and State Partner of the National Low Income Housing Coalition since 2004, we understand that our state and localities can’t address its affordable housing needs on its own; Congress must provide sufficient financial support. But after several years of attempting to engage with our Congressional delegation and receiving very little response, we decided it was time to take a different approach.

Utah State Representative Joel Briscoe and his wife

Utah State Representative Joel Briscoe and his wife Christine participating in the mudding of a straw-built home in Grand County.

This summer we began facilitating quarterly educational tours around the state, a shift from our usual monthly membership meetings held in Salt Lake City. Through these tours, we aim to grow state leaders’ understanding about the importance federal funding plays in state and local issues – specifically, the positive impact such funding has on ensuring greater housing affordability and addressing homelessness in Utah. We believe this will ultimately serve as a path to increased engagement with the Utah Congressional delegation on affordable housing issues.

We kicked off the tours in May with a daylong event in Grand County with local residents, Coalition members, and legislators. The day began with a service project helping to mud a straw-built home with Community Rebuilds, a program funded by the USDA. The afternoon was spent discussing federal and state programs and the barriers and solutions of building homes people can afford in rural and tourist areas of Utah.

Two additional site visits were recently held in Utah County, an area also known as

Tour in Salt Lake County, Utah

Tour in Salt Lake County, Utah

“Silicon Slopes” due to its rapidly growing population causing housing prices to rise dramatically (as occurred in Silicon Valley in California). New homes are being built, but they tend to serve higher-income people moving into the area, pricing out existing community members. Utah County does not have a housing plan to ensure more equitable development takes place, but State Senator Jake Anderegg (R) who represents the area is partnering with Utah Housing Coalition to identify solutions.

To showcase innovative approaches, the site visits featured properties developed with creative designs and financing that promote affordability. The developers led the tours to discuss why and how the projects were designed the way they were. The first tour focused on a mixed-income strategy to serve extremely low-income households as well as company executives. The second discussed how the deal was put together, what partnerships were made, and how other factors like the Community Reinvestment Act and tax reform played into making the development happen.

Tour in Salt Lake County, Utah

Tour in Salt Lake County, Utah

This new meeting strategy is a way to both make our membership meetings more effective and informative and to build relationships with state and federal officials. The bottom line is to have them see the impact federal funds have in their own communities. We believe the resources we’ve cultivated over the years as a member of NLIHC have set us up to be successful in this new endeavor, and we look forward to sharing advances made and lessons learned with others as we move through this process. 

To learn more about the Utah Housing Coalition and this effort, contact Executive Director Tara Rollins at trollins@xmission.com or 801-364-0077, or visit www.utahhousing.org

For more information on how you can work with partners like the Utah Housing Coalition and other advocates on ending homelessness and housing poverty in America, visit: https://nlihc.org/membership-month

Members Open the Door to Building the Fair Housing Movement

By Tori Bourret, NLIHC housing advocacy organizer

Today is the last Friday of Membership Month! We want to thank all our members who are growing the movement to expand affordable homes across the country. Some of our members are doing this by bringing people together to discuss fair housing issues and to figure out ways to solve these challenges. NLIHC has helped some of our members in this work by sharing our knowledge of fair housing policies and ways to deal with obstructions to fair housing brought by the current administration.

This past April, I attended “Building the Next Generation of Diverse Arkansas Communities”. A conference hosted by NLIHC member organization the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. I spoke as a panelist on the status of fair housing in Arkansas and the United States. I discussed why source of income should be protected under the Fair Housing Act, and how the administration is weakening the Fair Housing Act and delaying implementation of the affirmatively furthering fair housing rule.

It was great to be able to contribute to the conference by offering some additional resources on the fair housing discussion and connecting local issues to federal legislation. It was impactful to see how groups are coming together to learn from each other and inspire each other to keep pushing for equality for all.

Tori in AR

The opening plenary on the last day of the “Building the Next Generation of Diverse Arkansas Communities” Conference. Panelists include: Mayra Joachin, National Immigration Law Center; Sara Oliver, Arkansas Housing Trust Fund; Frederick Love, Director of Community Services Pulaski County; and Victoria Bourret, National Low Income Housing Coalition.

NLIHC staff would not have the opportunity to be in the field and have important discussions with local advocates if not for the support and contributions of our members. Consider joining today!

 


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: https://bit.ly/2f16bCh 

Members Open the Door to a Growing Movement

By Tori Bourret, NLIHC housing advocacy organizer

We are in the last week of NLIHC’s Membership Month. This week we are highlighting the ways our members open the door to a growing movement. Our members and partners involve NLIHC in policy events throughout the country. For NLIHC staff this is an opportunity to learn more about housing challenges in local communities. For local advocates, NLIHC provides ways to address affordable housing shortages through federal policy and advocacy work. Recently, I was invited by organization member, Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing (OCAH) to speak at its 2018 Affordable Housing Conference about housing affordability challenges and solutions.

Andrea Frymire, secretary on the Board of Directors for the OCAH, shared with me that she appreciates the outreach and education NLIHC offers its members.

“NLIHC membership provides critical data and research to help further the mission of the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing as we strive to provide housing solutions for low to moderate income Oklahomans.  We were honored to have Victoria Bourret participate in our 2018 Affordable Housing Conference:Plan.Build.House.  Tori provided our 350+ attendees with up-to-the-minute information on national issues during a federal legislative panel and provided 20 workshop session attendees with ways to better advocate for affordable housing.”

Funding affordable homes is a challenge in Oklahoma but groups like the OCAH are bringing people together to convince policymakers that solving the affordable housing crisis helps an entire community. I was able to share with their members ways to talk about funding affordable homes that can appeal to a wide audience. It was meaningful to be able to dialogue with advocates on the ground about effective advocacy strategies to best meet the needs of the lowest income households in Oklahoma.

Tori in OK

Members of the Federal Legislative Update Panel at the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference from left to right: Moderator Lance Windel, LW Development; Garth Rieman, National Council of State Housing Agencies; Tori Bourret, National Low Income Housing Coalition; & Josh Yurek, Midwest Housing Equity Group

My presentation at the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference: Plan.Build.House was made possible through the contributions of our members. The information that I presented was generated with member support and shared through a member network. Please consider joining this network!


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: https://bit.ly/2f16bCh 

Members Open the Door to Data Resources and Tools

By Justin Godard, NLIHC housing advocacy organizer

September is NLIHC Membership Month, and this week we’re highlighting the ways our members support the development of invaluable data and tools useful to those fighting for more affordable housing. Without accurate data, making the case for investing in low income housing resources would be impossible. NLIHC serves this need by continually researching, developing, and distributing data and tools which accurately describe housing needs. One such tool is the National Housing Preservation Database (NHPD).

Created and maintained in partnership with the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC), the NHPD is an address-level inventory of all federally assisted rental housing in the United States. The benefit of such a tool is that it allows advocates to get a comprehensive understanding of the affordable housing stock in a community. It also allows users interested in perserving local affordable housing to get a clear understanding of which properties might be at risk of loss from the affordable housing stock.

Resources such as the NHPD are only possible through the support of our NLIHC Members! Join today!

NHPD Property Mapping Tool

NHPD Property Mapping Tool

The NHPD is utilized by a wide range of stakeholders, including practitioners, public officials, advocates, and researchers. It has been used for developing voter-engagement tools for assisted housing tenants,  identifying expiring Section 8 properties where tenants need to be organized to advocate for preserving their affordability, providing data for peer-reviewed journal articles about preservation, and many other purposes. The NHPD is also an important tool for NLIHC’s own research efforts.

Data and resources such as the NHPD are made possible through the contributions of our members. Consider supporting this work and join us!

Note: Nonprofits can sign up to use the NHPD for free; learn more at: https://preservationdatabase.org/

Organizations can also support the NHPD directly at: https://bit.ly/2NQTeh9 


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: https://bit.ly/2f16bCh 

Members Open the Doors to Tools like Housing Profiles

By Joey Lindstrom, NLIHC manager for field organizing

This week, as part of membership month, we are highlighting the research, data, and tools that are made possible through the support of NLIHC members. State and Congressional Housing Profiles are used commonly by NLIHC members and advocates throughout the country to communicate key facts and figures about affordable housing shortages in their respective communities. The tools are designed to provide a local focus for communicating with policy makers or members of the media. Legislative staffers are often grateful for the handy information; housing profiles feature graphs and charts that show the shortage of affordable homes for extremely low income households in a state, housing cost burden by income group, the annual income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, and other important statistics that make the case for the expansion of affordable homes for the lowest income households.

SHP_DC

Example: 2018 DC State Housing Profile

Housing Profiles are effective tools for lobby visits with members of Congress because they use empirically driven data to show the unmet needs of the lowest income households. The data tells a story of massive disinvestment for people struggling the most. This data provides a structured argument alongside the personal experience and stories that local advocates are ready to provide.

State and Congressional District Housing Profiles would not be possible without the support of NLIHC members! Join NLIHC today by clicking here.

During NLIHC’s 2018 lobby day over 50 members braved a snowstorm and partners conducted visits with more than 120 legislative offices to discuss NLIHC’s policy priorities, such as NLIHC’s opposition to housing benefit cuts, funding the THUD budget at the highest possible level, and expanding revenue for the national Housing Trust Fund. Housing Profiles were a key part of lobby day packets that participants used to advance their policy arguments.

Tools such as our Housing Profiles are only possible through the support and contributions made by our members. Consider supporting this work and join NLIHC today!


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: https://bit.ly/2f16bCh