Saturday, April 2, 2016

NHC’s policy priorities for 2016

What we're building 
by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference

Imagine a train travelling through open country.  In front of it, teams of people are rapidly laying down new track. Behind it, yet more people are rapidly pulling up the old track to supply materials for the new even as the train keeps moving. (If you’re having trouble imagining it, read China Mieville’s “Iron Council). NHC’s policy agenda works that way—leading us in new directions by gradually replacing pieces of itself in a continual process of reexamination. 

At our March 30 Board of Governors meeting, NHC approved new policy priorities to guide our work based on careful discussions in our Policy Committee. The new policy agenda includes much continuity with the past, as there are still major areas of policy unresolved, most notably housing finance reform and the ongoing challenge of insufficient federal funding for housing. But there are some exciting new elements, too:

  • Protecting and expanding resources for affordable housing and community development during tax and budgetary reform, which aligns with the new push to expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
  • Highlighting how several areas of NHC’s work are about connecting people to opportunity through housing, in single-family and multifamily, in places of rapid growth and places struggling to grow, all of which should become more inclusive.
  • Bringing our ongoing work on broadband Internet access in affordable housing into the policy agenda explicitly.
  • Connecting housing to health, education, transportation, energy and technology policy.

      I hope every NHC member can see some of their own policy priorities reflected here. We are always looking for ways to work with members on policy development. There’s room for everyone to help lay new track.

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