Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Habitat for Humanity advocates for continuation of SHOP funds

News from NHC's family of members
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference

The FY 2015 House appropriations bill is threatening the funding for the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and NHC member Habitat for Humanity is advocating to ensure funding for the program is not ended. The SHOP program, distributed by HUD, works with self-help organizations like Habitat for Humanity to promote homeownership for low-income families. The program awards funding to organizations through a competitive application process where the recipient must be able to demonstrate how the funding will be used for infrastructure improvement or land acquisition.  Both the House bill and the President’s budget proposed cutting the separate funding for SHOP and instead moving it to be one of many possible uses under the HOME block grant program.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, a program affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, offers a proven example of the program’s benefits. Since 2002, HFH Nashville has served nearly 1,000 children and adults and sold 314 affordable homes to low-income families. The organization has also generated over $17.7 million in real estate values in its communities, along with over $2 million in local property taxes paid by Habitat homeowners.  

“SHOP has helped Habitat serve thousands of families using the self-help, sweat-equity model that requires families to commit substantial time to constructing their own homes,” said Christopher Ptomey, Habitat for Humanity International’s director of federal relations. “SHOP addresses the growing housing crisis in the U.S. while providing unique value to all of us as taxpayers. The President’s budget and the FY 15 House T-HUD appropriations bill propose to eliminate this essential program – and that’s unacceptable.”

Protecting funding for vital housing programs is a major policy agenda item for NHC and our members. In January, we joined others in the HOME Coalition in a letter to HUD advocating for increased FY 2015 funding for the HOME block grant program, which funds rental housing, homeownership, and rental assistance tailored to meet state and local housing needs. In that letter, we advocated for preserving separate funding for the SHOP program rather than taking it out of the already-reduced HOME allocation.

Habitat for Humanity International and Habitat affiliates encourages supporters of affordable housing to sign an online petition asking lawmakers them to support funding for the SHOP program. Habitat also encourages supporters to use social media to communicate the need for the program by using the hashtag #SHOP.

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