Meet our Interns: Isabella Blanchard

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is fortunate to have great interns every semester and summer. Our fall interns have been with us for a few weeks and are excited to share their experiences at the Coalition with you. Think interning with the Coalition might be for you? You’re in luck! We’re now accepting applicants for spring 2013 internships.

My name is Isabella Blanchard and I am (quite unexpectedly) an Outreach intern. My experience with the National Low Income Housing Coalition has been whirlwind, and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

NLIHC and I crossed paths for the first time in July of this year. I was exploring the Washington Post Jobs website, desperate for something to jump out at me, and at number #106 of 1,000+ entries I found it. My parents have always instilled a sense of giving back in my siblings and me, and in a city that sometimes seems to forget that idea, NLIHC seemed the perfect fit.

Every Wednesday and Thursday I am up with the rest of the working world (I haven’t quite perfected the art of early-morning wake-ups yet, but it’s getting easier) and spend my day at the office across from the Treasury. Each day is a test of my ability to learn on the go, to work with people and to problem solve–skills that will serve me in my career no matter which path I take. It has been easy to work with the staff at NLIHC. Everyone has the same goal in mind, and President & CEO Sheila Crowley directs the group with humor and strength.

If you’re looking to intern in D.C., NLIHC will challenge you, but I have found, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, that the knowledge there is an organization working on behalf of the housing needs of the lowest income Americans, and you can be part of it, is a great motivator. And there’s the added bonus of the city; buy yourself a Metro card and enjoy.

Meet Our Interns: Thaddaeus Elliott

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is fortunate to have great interns every semester and summer. Over the next several weeks, each of our summer interns will share their experiences at the Coalition with you. Think interning with the Coalition might be for you? Learn more here!

My name is Thaddaeus Elliott and I will be a senior this year at Northwestern University majoring in social policy. I served this summer at NLIHC as the policy intern.

My interest in affordable housing was really sparked by attending Northwestern and living in Chicago for the last three years. Through my coursework, my role as the chair of a social justice group on campus, and just my day-to-day experiences walking the streets of Chicago and talking to residents, I have learned that where we live has a tremendous influence over our life outcomes, especially for those with the lowest incomes.

So when it came time to begin the process of searching for a practicum site, I sought out nonprofit advocacy organizations focusing on housing policy. I found NLIHC on idealist.org and thought the policy intern position would be a perfect fit. I sent in my resume and cover letter right away, and, well, here I am.

As the policy intern, I’ve had a wide range of different experiences that have allowed me to gain a lot of practical knowledge and experience in not just housing policy, but in the legislative process in general. The opportunities I have had to go to Capitol Hill and attend hearings, bill markups and meet with Congressional staffers have shown me all the work that goes into making policy and how many people and interests are really involved in the legislative process.

The most challenging aspect of the internship has been getting a grasp of the ins and outs of housing policy. There are so many programs and regulations that are a bit convoluted, so it is hard to keep them all straight at times. Luckily every intern is provided with a current copy of the Advocates’ Guide, which is an amazing resource to fall back on. I’ve also found that you can always ask a question and have it answered.

For anyone interested in interning at NLIHC: do it! The staff here is truly great and cares about you getting the most out of your time here. Also, take advantage of as many opportunities to get out with the staff to go to conferences, hearings, rallies, lunches, coalition meetings, receptions, Hill visits, what have you. It really adds variety to your weeks and allows you to get your face and name out there while also meeting other people passionate about the issues you care about.

My time here at NLIHC has made me firmly committed to advocating for those with the lowest incomes not only in matters of housing but in any area where class plays a role in access to opportunity. Though I am sad to be leaving, I will take these experiences and seek out avenues to continue working on these issues back at school and wherever I may end up come spring.

Meet Our Interns: Chelsea Dalziel

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is fortunate to have great interns every semester and summer. Over the next several weeks, each of our summer interns will share their experiences at the Coalition with you. Think interning with the Coalition might be for you? Learn more here!

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about public interest and social justice issues. This passion led me to become an active volunteer throughout my high school and undergraduate career, as well as to my decision to attend law school, where my desire to serve the public interest is reinforced on a daily basis.

As an active member in Charlotte Law’s Pro Bono Program, I have had multiple opportunities to assist vulnerable and underrepresented populations in my community. Being part of this program has led me to develop a desire to serve the underserved on the larger scale through research and policy work. So I was immediately interested in applying for an internship position with the National Low Income Housing Coalition as soon as I learned of the opportunity.

At NLIHC, I am currently one of two research interns. I am extremely fortunate to hold such a position, because it allows me develop a diverse skill set that would be hard to obtain elsewhere. My responsibilities as a research intern vary greatly, including writing articles for NLIHC’s weekly newsletter, Memo to Members; researching low income housing trends and programs in place to assist low income individuals; and updating state housing profiles. I have also had a few opportunities to attend congressional hearings to help show the organization’s support or opposition to certain legislation.

While it can be challenging being a new intern, it is a challenge that should be met head on. The staff at NLIHC is friendly, supportive and very appreciative of all of their interns. They understand that new interns might not be savvy to the inner workings of the organization, or to all of the prevalent issues NLIHC was established to address. They are happy to answer as many questions as you may have, as well as expose you to as much as they possibly can.

Although my internship position has not yet ended, it has already produced multiple benefits for my future. For example, holding such a position has helped me secure an advocacy intern position with the Charlotte Housing Authority that I will begin in the fall. It has also played a part in my acceptance onto the editorial board of a new law journal that focuses on civil and social justice issues, where I plan on utilizing the knowledge I have gained from NLIHC to develop and publish an article focused on low income housing issues.

If you are a public interest-minded individual seeking a diverse and rewarding experience in the heart of D.C., and interested in assisting a distinguished nonprofit organization with their mission, I would highly recommend an internship with NLIHC.