Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Raising our voices: Moving housing forward in the current environment requires collaboration

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference

I hope you had a safe and restful Independence Day weekend. As D.C. settles back down after a flurry of activity, from the Supreme Court rulings to the big holiday weekend, this is usually the time when things here get quieter. This does not mean that the work on policy and funding stops. Achieving a bipartisan plan to lift the budget caps will be a significant effort for NHC and one we hope will unite all affordable housing and community development organizations.

While we still feel many state and national elected officials have yet to truly grapple with the significant shortage of affordable rental housing, we have been especially pleased to see how frequently affordable housing and economic opportunity issues have appeared recently in media across the country. Several news outlets reported on “State of the Nation’s Housing 2015,” released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. And a data visualization from the New York Times highlights how location dramatically impacts opportunity and income, echoing the Urban Institute report Rebekah writes about below.

These are important stories and themes for us to weave together for policy makers as we all work to build the awareness and understanding of the housing issues that impact our communities.

One of NHC’s consistent goals since I have been here has been to elevate affordable housing as a bipartisan issue. We have worked hard to increase the political diversity of our Board of Governors and feature speakers from both sides of the aisle at our events. As Ethan notes below and in his recent Open House blog post, we are now seeing more Republican political leaders talking about housing. These are tremendous opportunities for the housing community to engage in dialog with folks as these issues and policy proposals are raised.

As we look to how to address our nation’s housing affordability challenges in this resource-constrained environment, all of us must be willing to engage, educate and think about new ways of addressing these issues.


As always, thanks for being a member of NHC.


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