Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Education, advocacy and action

by Chris Estes, National Housing Conference 



In case you missed it, last week NHC and the Urban Institute released a new rental housing data visualization, “The Cost of Affordable Housing: Does it Pencil Out?” This tool was developed with real construction data from the Denver metro area and is designed to demonstrate the challenges of financing rental housing affordable to households at below-median income levels. We hope it will be a useful resource in your work to educate elected officials, local and state government staff and the public on why programs like the LIHTC and operating subsidies are needed to bring rents to a level low to moderate income households can afford.

Thanks to the Urban Institute for their partnership on this effort and to Ethan Handelman, Rebekah King and Amy Clark of NHC for their work on the project.

We’ve received great feedback from NHC members, Hill staff and affordable housing allies on this tool. People see it as a way to introduce concepts of affordable housing to legislators, community members, students and anyone else just stepping into this policy issue. We hope you will share with us your thoughts on the data visualization and any experiences and impact you have in your education efforts.

We have also learned of other more detailed tools serving related needs. We hope you find them useful, too:
  • NHC Board Member Carol Galante and the Terner Center at the University of California Berkeley produced a Housing Development Dashboard to calculate factors affecting the likelihood of new housing development, and a Policy Gauge showing how much housing will be built. This is a great way to bring land use and regulatory barriers into the affordability conversation. 
  • Our New York affiliate, the New York Housing Conference, showed us a tool created by the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. Inside the Rent, a web-based game that explores why New York City rents are so high, is a great resource for folks working on housing issues in that region. 
  • NHC member Cornerstone Partnership has an Inclusionary Calculator that allows you to create simple, online pro formas for development to show how features of an inclusionary housing program will impact the number of units produced and at what prices. 
I wrote last week in the Wire about the Make Room campaign’s effort to generate one million contacts with members of Congress on affordable housing issues. NHC is proud to join many other national affordable housing and community development organizations in support of this effort. Yesterday the campaign formally kicked off with a national discussion lead by “Eviction” author Matt Desmond.

If you have not visited the Make Room website, please do so. It is a great resource on the shortage of rental housing affordable to below-median income households, and has a convenient “Take Action” section that allows you to send messages to your members of Congress as an individual or on behalf of an organization. See below from Radiah for more details on how to get involved in the campaign.

As we close the books on this year’s gala, we are pleased to announce that 2017’s Housing Visionary Awards Gala will be held June 8 at the National Building Museum. We hope you will mark your calendar and join us in continuing to make this a must attend event each year.

No comments: