Congress at Home, Advocates Should Urge Action in Fall

 

Will you be meeting with you representatives this month while they are in district?  Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on recess during the month of August, resuming legislative business on Monday, September 8. While they are in their home districts and with most House Members and 27 Senators seeking reelection in November, housing and homeless advocates should take the opportunity to remind them of the work they have left to do before the end of the 113th Congress.

A top “must pass” item is the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The current PTF law expires at the end of 2014. Unless it is made permanent or extended by December 31, many tenants whose landlords or property owners lose their properties to foreclosure will no longer have federal protections against imminent eviction. The laws governing tenant rights will revert to the array of state laws on the status of tenants at foreclosure, most of which still offer less protection than the federal law. S. 1761 and H.R. 3543 are the two Permanently Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bills that need a vehicle for enactment this year.

Congress also must complete its FY15 HUD and USDA Rural Housing Appropriations bills. The Senate and the House will delay finalizing these bills until after the November election, but all Members need to hear that you expect funding at the levels in the bills that have cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee.

While no further action is likely on either housing finance reform or tax reform, advocates should stress that when Congress does act on these issues in the 114th Congress that robust funding for the National Housing Trust Fund must be included.

For more information on these issues and more, go to http://nlihc.org/issues.

Meet Our Interns: Christina Payamps-Smith

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is fortunate to have great interns every semester and summer. Spring intern Christina Payamps-Smith, a master’s degree student at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, shares her experiences as an intern with us today.

For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in social justice issues. After graduating from college, like most recent graduates, I contemplated what to do next that involved my interests. After some searching, I quickly found an AmeriCorps position with an affordable housing developer. Since this time, my interest in social justice was pointed to affordable housing.

Using this experience as a jump start, I was eager to learn more about affordable housing and the environment in which housing organizations exist. I started working on my masters in public administration to gain additional knowledge. After several family moves, I found myself living in the D.C. metro area and looking for opportunities to supplement my coursework.  In my search I came across the internship openings at NLIHC and thought, after writing multiple class papers using NLIHC’s publications as resources, that this opportunity would be a perfect fit.

The experience has already proved to be exciting just a few weeks into my internship. I have had the opportunity to attend coalition meetings, meet with Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill, attend Congressional committee hearings and interact with people who are dedicated to affordable housing. My time here has educated me on the legislative process and all the people and issues that are involved. Many of the projects that I have worked on so far challenge me to develop my skills and learn new things.

For anyone considering an internship with NLIHC, I would say it is a worthwhile experience. This internship offers an opportunity to build professional skill sets and to truly gain knowledge in all areas of affordable housing.