A Birthday & Retirement Reception for NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) organized a birthday and retirement celebration for its President and CEO Sheila Crowley on January 28th, 2016. The reception was attended by NLIHC board members, homeless and affordable housing advocates, and Sheila’s family. NLIHC is grateful to Bank of America for generously hosting the event at the stunning Bank of America 10th floor venue at its offices in Washington, DC and for catering the event.

Besides the guest of honor, Sheila Crowley, the following people spoke at the event: Ken Wade, Senior Community Affairs Executive, Bank of America; Bill Faith, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHIO) and NLIHC Board Member (MC); Jonathan Harwitz, Managing Director of Federal Policy and Government Affairs, the Low Income Investment Fund; Nancy Bernstine, former Exec. Director of the National AIDS Housing Coalition and NLIHC’s 2016 Cushing Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award recipient; Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness and NLIHC’s 2011 Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award recipient; Joe Ventrone, Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS® Regulatory and Industry Relations; Ann O’Hara, former Associate Director of the Technical Assistance Collaborative and NLIHC Board Member; George Moses, former NLIHC Board Chairman and NLIHC’s 2012 Cushing Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award recipient; and Shaun Donovan, Director of OMB, former HUD Secretary, and NLIHC’s 2016 Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award recipient.

Credit for these beautiful photos goes to Ellen Errico, our Graphic Design and Web Manager.

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The Pope Brings Hope

Photo source: http://bit.ly/1CxU9s7

Photo source: http://bit.ly/1CxU9s7

By Sheila Crowley, President & CEO NLIHC

For those of us whose job it is to influence the U.S. Congress to help people who are poor and vulnerable, it’s hard not to be deeply cynical about our democracy. The legislative process is a shambles, and public discourse offends more than enlightens.  Getting serious issues heard above the din of the toxic debate is nearly impossible. Well-honed advocacy tools are wasted defending the status quo at best, not advancing the cause.

But yesterday was different. Pope Francis spoke before a Joint Session of Congress; for 51 minutes, he appealed to our elected officials to get their act together and work for the common good. His delivery was gentle but firm. “You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.” And the common good includes everyone, but “especially those in situations of greater vulnerability and risk.” Pope Francis made clear the imperative of elected officials. “Politics is an expression of our compelling need to live as one in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.”

While Pope Francis covered a wide range of important issues, he wove concern for others throughout the speech. When he reminded those assembled of the Golden Rule, Congress cheered. He was direct that the “fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes… It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth.”

After addressing Congress, Pope Francis left the Capitol to have lunch with 300 homeless people at St. Patrick’s Church in downtown DC, where he declared: “Let me be clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for the lack of housing.”  Did the Pope mean to gives us a perfect tweet?  Housing and homeless advocates sent the quote far and wide.

Despite working in Washington, I tend towards hopefulness and Pope Francis gave me reason to do so yesterday. His words offer me guidance on how to speak about what the National Low Income Housing Coalition is trying to do. We are asking Americans to “sacrifice particular interests in order to share.” Specifically, we are asking well-off people with expensive homes to sacrifice some of their tax benefits in order to share federal housing assistance with people who lack decent and affordable housing.  We are asking those who make their living in the home buying business to give up just a little to be able to help a lot.

Let me be clear. There is no justification whatsoever for Congress to continue to subsidize higher income homeowners through the tax code while anyone in our country lacks decent and affordable housing.

Thank you, Pope Francis. Let’s hope Congress heeds your message.

Sheila Crowley Retiring after 17 Years as NLIHC President and CEO

sheila(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Sheila Crowley announced that she will retire in 2016 from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) after leading the organization as President and CEO for over 17 years. Dr. Crowley will continue with NLIHC through April 2016 to ensure a smooth and successful transition for her successor.

“Sheila has been instrumental in shaping NLIHC to the force for change that it is today,” said Brenda Clement, NLIHC Board Chair. “Her leadership has been extraordinary. NLIHC is grounded in the conviction that access to safe, decent, affordable housing is a basic human right, and Sheila has carried the torch. Using research and data, organizing, communications and media outreach, Sheila has developed partners and champions on both sides of the aisle, within Congress, multiple Administrations, and with thousands of low income housing advocates across the country. She has established, cultivated, and solidified the reputation of NLIHC as a trusted source of information for policymakers in Washington, DC and the members we serve. NLIHC is well positioned for continued success due in large part to Sheila’s leadership and vision.”

“We celebrate Sheila’s many accomplishments at the helm of NLIHC,” said Ms. Clement. “In particular, it was her determined advocacy for so many years that led to the creation of and funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.” The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), designed to build, preserve, rehabilitate, and operate rental homes for people with the lowest incomes, was created in 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). Due to begin providing grants to states in 2016, NHTF is the first new federal funding in a generation that is targeted to expand the supply of rental housing affordable for extremely low income households. NLIHC is now at the forefront in helping states prepare to utilize the new Trust Fund dollars, fighting back recent attempts to defund the NHFT, and advocating for new non-appropriated resources. Dr. Crowley initiated the United for Homes campaign that seeks to modify the mortgage interest deduction and use the revenue raised to fund the NHTF.

“It has been my great honor to serve an organization that is deeply committed to social justice and takes such bold positions to solve the housing problems of the poorest Americans. NLIHC has a talented and dedicated staff who work to advance NLIHC’s mission each and every day,” said Dr. Crowley. “I am confident that the Board of Directors will choose a new leader who will maintain NLIHC’s long-held values while taking the organization to new heights.”

The NLIHC Board of Directors has formed a Search Committee, composed of Ms. Clement, six current board members, and George Moses, who was the Board Chair from 2006 to 2012. The board has engaged the consulting firm Nonprofit HR to facilitate the search. A job announcement will be released in the coming month.

For further information, as well as to provide recommendations to the Search Committee, please contact NLIHC’s Executive Search Consultant, Patty Hampton, CSP, Managing Partner at Nonprofit HR via email at phampton@nonprofithr.com or 202-785-2060 ext. 103.

Everyone Should Have a Decent and Safe Place to Rest One’s Head: Joseph M Ventrone

Joseph M Ventrone, Vice President for Regulatory and Industry Relations, National Association of Realtors

Joseph M Ventrone, Vice President for Regulatory and Industry Relations, National Association of Realtors

Joseph M Ventrone is the Vice President for Regulatory and Industry Relations at the National Association of Realtors. He has been a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) since 2003. As a part of our ongoing Membership Month and a series of interviews with some of our committed members, we are pleased to interview Mr. Ventrone about his affiliation with NLIHC and why he would encourage others to join NLIHC.

Why are you a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)?

My entire professional life has been devoted to federal housing policy since my first job out of graduate school. NLIHC plays an important role in the housing industry by ensuring people with the lowest incomes in the U.S. have a voice.

How did you first get involved in affordable housing?

My first professional job was at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1974.

What do you find most challenging about affordable housing advocacy?

The most challenging job is messaging the multifaceted issues and navigating the extremely tight budgetary environment.

What is your best advice for housing advocates?

In the upcoming Presidential election don’t pit one form of subsidy against another form of subsidy. Educate candidates and the public on the support for all forms of housing assistance.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of NLIHC?

Agreeing with Sheila Crowley more often than not, but very respectfully disagreeing with Sheila (my very respected friend) on the need for the home mortgage interest deduction!

What does “home” mean to you?

Some think home is an economic investment and some think home is where the heart is. No matter what your belief everyone should have a decent, safe and sanitary place to rest one’s head!

Any good book recommendations on social justice, housing advocacy, homelessness, poverty etc.?

On Shaky Ground by Bethany McLean. This is a sequel to her previous book All the Devils are Here a very good book on the financial crisis and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a member of NLIHC?/ Why should someone join NLIHC?

No matter if you are at the local, state or federal level, NLIHC provides timely research for housing advocates. The NLIHC Washington Conferences attract top caliber speakers and policy makers as well.

What do you wish other people knew about NLIHC?

NLIHC in its short history has attracted top notch Presidents, from its founding President Cushing Dolbeare to Barry Zigas and now to retiring Sheila Crowley. I wish the NLIHC Board of Directors luck in finding someone to follow in these footsteps! Very Best Wishes to Sheila in a well-deserved career move to full time spouse, mother, and grandmother and a great American Citizen!

Read Related Interviews

Home Is Where You Feel Physically and Emotionally Secure
Lack of Understanding of the Affordable Housing Crisis Is Frustrating: Anne M. Williams
Why I Joined NLIHC: A Member’s Reflections
Affordable Housing for Extremely Low Incomes is Possible: Ruth A. Matz

End Homelessness and Housing Poverty

Policy_logo_2014Dear Friend,

Throughout our history, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has been a trusted voice with Members of Congress on the lack of affordable housing for the poorest people in our country – the root cause of homelessness and housing poverty in America. We have consistently advocated with Congress to enact legislation to protect and increase low income housing resources.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, NLIHC is constrained in the amount of direct and grassroots lobbying we can do. Since our early days in the 1970s, we have had both the 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, but from 1996 to 2014, National Low Income Housing Policy Center, the (c)(4), was inactive for lack of resources.

In 2014, we reactivated the Policy Center with an extremely generous $200,000 grant from the Oak Foundation and with contributions from individuals and organizations who wished to directly support our advocacy efforts. The Policy Center is a vital part of our mission, allowing us to be a leading voice for specific legislation that protects public housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Rental Housing Assistance, the National Housing Trust Fund, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure and much more. (The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Policy Center are both strictly nonpartisan, never engage in electoral politics and never endorse any candidates for political office.)

Please make a contribution today to the National Low Income Housing Coalition or the National Low Income Housing Policy Center.*

Help us end homelessness and housing poverty by ensuring there are sufficient affordable and decent homes for people with the lowest incomes in the United States.

Click Here to Donate Today! http://nlihc.org/donate

Thank you.
Yours in advocacy,

Sheila Crowley
President and CEO

*Contributions to the National Low Income Housing Coalition are tax-deductible. Contributions to the National Low Income Housing Policy Center are not.