December 7, 2016
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National Low Income Housing Coalition Latest News 3-24-09

Memo to Members, Vol. 14, No. 11

National Low Income Housing Coalition

March 24, 2009

 

***HUD Secretary Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Frank to Headline at NLIHC’s 2009 Conference;

Early Registration Ends March 27

NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND

***Chairwoman Testifies in Support of NHTF Funding as Budget Resolution Is Developed

MORE CAPITOL HILL

***CRA Bill Details

***Housing Activities Included in National Service Bill

***House Committee Holds Livable Communities Hearing

***Census Hearing Scheduled

HUD

***HUD’s Line Up Fills In: Bostic, Galante Named

***HUD Releases FY09 Income Limits, Announces Forthcoming Changes

HURRICANE RECOVERY

***NLIHC President, State Partners Testify Before Senate Disaster Subcommittee

***House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Post-Katrina Response

FROM THE FIELD

***WA Advocates Stand Up For Housing in State Capitol

RESOURCES

***Analyzing Immigrant and Renter Foreclosures in Minneapolis

FACT OF THE WEEK

***Nearly Two-thirds of Foreclosures in Minneapolis May be Rentals

NLIHC NEWS

***NLIHC Board of Directors Seeks Nominations

***NLIHC Seeks Summer Interns

 

***HUD Secretary Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Frank to Headline at NLIHC’s 2009 Conference; Early Registration Ends March 27

NLIHC’s April 19–22 Annual Housing Policy Conference and Lobby Day will be packed with great speakers, workshops and networking, and will include the opportunity to hear from HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank.

 

The conference brochure has been posted at www.nlihc.org/doc/conference/brochure.pdf  

Find the conference schedule and more information on invited speakers, receptions, the screening of the Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water and more in the brochure. Registration and hotel information can be found at https://www2398.ssldomain.com/nlihc/conference/index.cfm  

 

Sessions at this year’s conference will cover topics including the National Housing Trust Fund, renters and foreclosures, low income housing tax credits, the future of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and federal housing finance, homelessness prevention and the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Act, the federal budget and appropriations, and many more.

 

Hurry, early registration ends March 27!

 

NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND

***Chairwoman Testifies in Support of NHTF Funding as Budget Resolution Develops House Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) testified in support of capitalizing the National Housing Trust Fund before a House Committee on the Budget hearing on March 18. The hearing was held to hear Representatives’ views on the budget.

 

“I commend HUD Secretary Donovan for providing the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund with $1 billion in the budget. This program will prevent homelessness and create and preserve affordable housing for very low income households. Funding for the Trust can also be used to help us make good on our long-overdue promise to provide safe, decent and affordable housing to the millions of GulfCoast families still being affected by Hurricane Katrina,” Ms. Waters said.

 

Ms. Waters also testified that she hopes the budget will allow for $5.5 billion in public housing operating subsidies and full funding for the renewal of project-based Section 8 contracts and tenant-based vouchers. Other important HUD programs identified by the Chairwoman were the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program. President Obama’s FY10 budget request would eliminate the CDBG Section 108 loan guarantee program (see Memo, 2/27) but Chairwoman Waters called the program “critical to providing economic investment in distressed and disadvantaged areas.”

 

The House and Senate Committees on the Budget are expected to each mark up their respective FY10 budget resolutions on March 25. The House and Senate are expected to take up their resolutions the week of March 30, prior to April’s Spring Recess.

 

The budget resolution sets overall spending limits that guide the subsequent work of the appropriations committees. Without an adequate amount in the budget resolution for the federal government’s domestic discretionary programs, which include all HUD low income housing programs, appropriators are limited in their ability to appropriate new funds for these programs.

 

President Obama’s FY10 request for HUD programs would increase funding by $6 billion, over FY09’s $41.5 billion. The details of how this $6 billion increase would be allocated across HUD’s programs have not been released by the White House. The White House is expected to release the details of its budget request in mid- to late-April. A Congressional Budget Office analysis, released on March 20, shows that the federal deficit will be larger than the Obama Administration projected making it more difficult for the Congress to pass a budget resolution that does as much as the President has proposed.

 

Link to Chairwoman Waters’ testimony at http://budget.house.gov/hearings/2009/Members_day/Waters.pdf

 

MORE CAPITOL HILL

***CRA Bill Details

The CRA Modernization Act of 2009, introduced by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) March 12, would strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) as applied to banks and expand CRA to non-bank financial institutions (see Memo, 3/13)..

 

Currently, under CRA, each federally insured depository institution is evaluated periodically on its record in helping meet the credit needs of the communities in which it operates, including low and moderate income neighborhoods. These evaluations are performed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of Thrift Supervision. Based on these evaluations, each institution receives a rating. These rating are made public and are taken into account in considering an institution's application for deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions. All CRA lending must be done in a safe and sound manner.

 

The CRA Modernization Act, H.R. 1479, would expand the areas in which an institution’s action must be evaluated to include areas where they lend through brokers. Currently institutions are evaluated in the areas where they have actual physical locations. The bill also expands the types of activities examined to include lending and services to minority communities. Institutions would be penalized in the ratings process for predatory lending or other credit practices that have a negative impact on any community or a neighborhood. 

 

This bill would also apply CRA to a variety of non-bank institutions including independent mortgage companies, credit unions, mortgage company affiliates of banks, insurance companies, and securities firms. Advocates contend that if these non-bank institutions had been subject to CRA requirements sooner, the foreclosure crisis might have been prevented because CRA requires institutions to serve communities consistent with principles of safety and soundness.

 

The CRA Modernization Act would also increase the accountability of covered institutions through improved data disclosure and additional opportunities for public comment on an institution’s performance. Data collection requirements would be expanded to include the race and gender in the case of small business loans, data on deposit accounts by neighborhood and data from insurance companies similar to the data required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The CRA Modernization Act would require federal regulatory agencies to hold more public hearings and meetings when banks merge. 

 

The bill was referred to the House Committees on Financial Services and on Rules. The Rules Committee may now decide, based on the substance of the bill, to refer H.R. 1479 to other committees of jurisdiction. No action has been scheduled on the bill.

 

***Housing Activities Included in National Service Bill

A national volunteer service reauthorization bill was amended on March 18 on the House floor to include housing-related activities as legitimate activities within a new Opportunity Corps established by the bill. Overall, the bill is expected to increase national service volunteers from the current 75,000 participants to about 250,000 participants.

 

The House passed by a vote of 321 to 105 the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act (GIVE Act), H.R. 1388. The bill would reauthorize the America’s national service programs. Among its many provisions, the bill would reorganize AmeriCorps activities into new, focused corps on national areas of need: education, health care, clean energy, and veterans. In addition to these four specialized corps, H.R.1388 would establish an Opportunity Corps to promote service programs that address unmet community needs.

 

Representative Al Green (D-TX) spearheaded an effort in House to include housing-related language in the new Opportunity Corps. Mr. Green’s amendment  added “assisting in building, improving and preserving affordable housing and in the construction and rehabilitation of housing units, including energy efficient homes, for economically disadvantaged individuals” as eligible activities of the Opportunity Corps.

 

Mr. Green thanked House Committee on Education and Labor Chair George Miller (D-CA) for including the housing language in his floor amendment to the bill as well as House Committee on Financial Services Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) and Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) for their support for adding the housing language to the bill.

 

“I especially thank you for including language in this legislation that will allow volunteers to help in the area of housing. You know and we know that we have an affordable housing crisis. We have lost more than 600,000 units in affordable housing since the mid-1990s that are subsidized. It is time for us to restock our affordable housing. These volunteers will help us to do so,” Mr. Green said.

 

Also on March 18, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions marked up its national service reauthorization bill, S. 277. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) worked successfully to include housing language in that bill’s Opportunity Corps provision.

 

The bills, which have broad bi-partisan support, are priorities for President Obama and Senate HELP Chair Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and, thus, are on a fast track for enactment. The Senate is expected to take up a version of H.R. 1388 that reflects Senate priorities from S. 277 as early as March 23. The House will then move to pass H.R. 1388 before April 3, the start of the Congressional Spring recess.

 

On March 10, 18 organizations, including NLIHC, wrote to Senator Kennedy asking that a greater emphasis be placed on housing in S. 277 (see Memo, 3/13). The effort to increase housing’s presence in the bill was initiated by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants.

 

***House Committee Holds Livable Communities Hearing

On March 18 and 19, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies held a hearing on, “Livable Communities, Transit Oriented Development and Incorporating Green Building Practices into Federal Housing and Transportation Policy.”

 

Subcommittee Chair John Olver (D-MA) has long been a strong supporter of increasing the energy efficiency of federally assisted housing, and championed the inclusion of green housing principles in public housing revitalization legislation in the House during the last Congress. Mr. Olver is also a co-chair of the House’s Climate Change Caucus and has inserted language in his subcommittee’s bill for HUD and the Federal Transit Administration to work together on transit oriented development.

 

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified before the subcommittee on March 18. Secretary Donovan said HUD is building on the subcommittee’s direction in the FY08 HUD appropriations bill to work with the Federal Transit Administration and DOT. To that end, on March 18, HUD and DOT announced an interagency task force to promote sustainable communities.

 

The goals of the task force include: having every major metropolitan area in the country conduct integrated housing, transportation, and land use planning and investment in the next four years; developing federal housing affordability measures that include housing, transportation, and other costs that affect location choices; researching, evaluating and recommending measures that indicate the livability of communities, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas; and identifying opportunities to better coordinate HUD and DOT programs and encourage location efficiency in housing and transportation choices.

 

Secretary LaHood congratulated Mr. Olver for having “hung in there” until both HUD’s and DOT’s Secretaries and others in the executive branch were “aligned with your passion for livable communities.”

 

Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Latham (R-IA) said that while he appreciates the Chairman’s fervor on this issue, he remains skeptical that all areas of the country desire, or would benefit from, such initiatives. Mr. Latham also raised concerns about the cost of HUD and DOT initiatives to integrate housing and transportation planning and the realistic success of increasing mass transit’s reach into rural and suburban communities.

 

A panelist on the second hearing day, Robert Puentes of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institution, noted that between “now and 2030, it is anticipated that this nation will develop another 213 billion square feet of homes, retail facilities, office buildings and other structures. That's two-thirds the amount of built space in the United States today. How and where we build in the future carries far-reaching implications for the health of our environment, our energy security, and our economic recovery and will continue to impact our metropolitan areas' success and our ability to compete globally.”

 

“Few conditions on the award of transportation, housing, environmental, or other categorical or block grants provide incentives for the development of more effective regional planning and governance,” Mr. Puentes said.

 

Link to HUD’s statement on its interagency partnership with DOT on sustainable communities: www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr09-023.cfm

 

Link to testimony from the hearings at http://appropriations.house.gov/Subcommittees/sub_tranurb.shtml

 

***Census Hearing Scheduled

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives will hold a hearing on March 23 titled, “Census 2010: Assessing the Bureau's Strategy for Reducing the Undercount of Hard-to-Count Populations.” Witnesses have not yet been announced. The hearing will take place at 10 am in room 2154 of the Rayburn House office building.

 

HUD

***HUD’s Line Up Fills In: Bostic, Galante Named

On March 18, President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Raphael Bostic to be HUD’s next Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. A day earlier, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced President Obama’s appointment of Carol Galante as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs at HUD.

 

Dr. Bostic is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development, where he teaches courses in affordable housing development, urban economics, real estate finance, policy and planning analysis, and public finance.

 

According to the March 18 press release, “Dr. Bostic is an expert on housing and homeownership, and has extensively studied the roles that credit markets, financing, and policy play in enhancing household access to economic and social amenities. He is also currently studying the effects of community development financial institutions on neighborhood well-being, how anti-predatory lending laws impact credit flows, and the role of the private label secondary market in facilitating the flow of capital to subprime and possibly predatory loans.”

Dr. Bostic’s nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. No action has been scheduled by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

 

Ms. Galente is currently the president of BRIDGE Housing Corporation in San Francisco. BRIDGE is the largest nonprofit developer of affordable apartments in California, according to HUD. BRIDGE has developed more than 13,000 affordable homes in California, housing more than 35,000 people, and a staff of more than 200, according to its website.

 

"Having previously served in the position Carol will step into, I am extremely confident that her proven track record in multifamily housing is exactly what HUD needs to move that division forward," said Secretary Donovan said in a statement. "She is one of the nation's most innovative affordable housing leaders and will be a tremendous asset during our nation's housing crisis, especially as HUD moves forward an aggressive policy agenda. I am thrilled to have Carol on board and look forward to working with her to carry out HUD's mission to create affordable housing opportunities for all Americans."

 

"President Obama and Secretary Donovan share a compelling vision for positive change in our nation's metropolitan areas, and I'm looking forward to bringing some of the ideas garnered from my work in California—including transit development and green building programs—to today's national challenges," Ms. Galante said in the same March 17 statement.

 

Ms. Galante will be responsible for HUD's financing support for the development and preservation of privately-owned rental housing and, according to HUD, “will be integral to several new initiatives that promote sustainable development.”

                                      

***HUD Releases FY09 Income Limits, Announces Forthcoming Changes

HUD released its Income Limits and estimated Median Family Incomes for FY09 on March 19.  These data are used to determine eligibility for housing assistance and for other purposes in administering federal housing and other programs. 

 

There are a number of important changes this year. First, provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) mandated a change to how income limits for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program are calculated.  Therefore, HUD will put out a separate income limits publication specifically for the LIHTC program; the income limits published this week are not for use in the LIHTC program.  The briefing materials provide a list of all programs to which these income limits apply. 

 

Second, with the publication of new American Community Survey data for areas with as few as 20,000 people, HUD will no longer use Bureau Labor Statistics data in updating local income levels and other technical adjustments to its calculations.  An on-line documentation system allows users to track how the median family income and income limits were determined for a specific geographic area. Going forward, these changes should lead to more accurate and more stable income estimates year-to-year. While in some FMR areas these changes have contributed to noticeable changes in published Median Family Incomes from FY08, including declines in 42 areas, in keeping with historical practice the actual income limits used in programs are being “held harmless” this year. This means where estimated Median Family Incomes decline, the income limit itself will not decline. 

 

Related to this, however, HUD also announced that starting in FY10 it intends to discontinue “holding harmless” income limits for programs other than the LIHTC. The origin of the decision to hold income limits harmless was an attempt to stabilize the financing of LIHTC projects in areas where measured or actual incomes were declining. HERA, by mandating a different income limit and rent for LIHTC projects, which incorporates a hold harmless provision, enables HUD to allow income limits in other programs to decline as well as increase from year to year. A forthcoming Federal Register notice will discuss these changes in more detail.

 

The Median Family Income and Income Limits and background information including the on-line documentation system can be found at www.huduser.org/datasets/il/il09/index.html

 

HURRICANE RECOVERY

***NLIHC President, State Partners Testify Before Senate Disaster Subcommittee

NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley and NLIHC state partners testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Disaster Recovery Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery on March 18 to recommend how HUD and FEMA can better respond to the housing needs of the low income in a natural disaster.

 

The hearing, “A New Way Home: Findings from the Disaster Recovery Subcommittee Special Report and Working with the New Administration on a Way Forward,” focused on the subcommittee’s nine-month investigation and the subsequent report into the federal government’s disaster housing response in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (see Memo, 2/27). 

 

In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said, “While the storms ravaged the GulfCoast nearly four years ago, thousands remain without permanent housing, and thousands more are still rebuilding their homes and are still waiting for federal assistance to arrive.” Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he looked forward to working with the Chair in a bipartisan manner to address disaster recovery. “When these storms hit, or a catastrophe hits, it doesn’t ask for your party affiliation,” he said.

 

The hearing’s first panel of witnesses consisted of Administration officials Nancy Ward, Acting Administrator at FEMA, and Nelson Bregon, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development.

 

In her opening statement, Ms. Ward informed the subcommittee that the National Disaster Housing Task Force, which is prominently mentioned throughout FEMA’s National Disaster Housing Strategy, “is currently being organized, and will not only be staffed by federal employees, but will engage and interact with key stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, voluntary agencies and industry experts as well.”

 

In a question directed toward Mr. Bregon, Senator Landrieu asked him whether HUD should take the lead in responding to catastrophic situations. Mr. Bregon said that “although we have infrastructure and the knowledge to address the needs, we need the resources to respond. If given authority and financial resources, we can do it.”

 

The hearing’s second panel was comprised of Ms. Crowley; Krystal Williams, Executive Director of the Louisiana Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner;  Karen Paup, Co-Director of Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, also an NLIHC state partner; and Reilly Morse, Senior Attorney with the Mississippi Center for Justice.  All agreed with the findings of the report and thanked Senator Landrieu for undertaking such an important investigation.

 

Ms. Crowley emphasized five points in her oral testimony: the disconnect between the temporary housing response run by FEMA and HUD and the housing rebuilding response which was delegated to the states; a call for an investigation into how many people had been wrongfully or mistakenly denied temporary housing assistance or had their assistance terminated; HUD’s failure to repair for re-occupancy thousands of public and HUD-assisted housing units damaged by the 2005 hurricanes; the need for a unified community based case management system that addresses both temporary and permanent housing needs; and the nationwide shortage of rental homes that the lowest income people can afford that will impede the development of an effective National Disaster Housing Strategy.

 

Krystal Williams focused on the implementation of the programs that funded housing rebuilding. “The responsibility of program implementation of federal funds fell heavily upon state and local government agencies that were beyond the capability to respond effectively. They lacked the capacity for case management to implement programs and administer assistance,” Ms. Williams said. “This subcommittee report states that flawed FEMA public assistance programs blocked state and local governments from restoring public services needed for housing recovery.”

 

Karen Paup said, “The findings and recommendations presented in the report would be uniformly embraced by the state and local leaders, community organizations, legal advocates for the poor, social service organizations and hurricane survivors with whom I have worked over the years. Each of the three successive hurricanes to strike Texas since Hurricane Katrina has tragically demonstrated that few lessons have been learned or applied to remediate the deficiencies in federal disaster housing assistance.”

 

Reilly Morse concurred on the need for a national post-disaster housing plan. “It is vital that a properly funded and operational catastrophic housing plan with clear guidance on the roles, programs and procedures is essential for the federal government to change from what this report recounts into a more effective and, in the long term, less costly endeavor in order to prevent the disaster of Katrina from occurring on this scale again,” he said.

 

To watch a webcast of the hearing, please follow the link: http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=896649c7-17e6-4b95-a49b-37929259ec20 A copy of the full report can be found here: http://landrieu.senate.gov/news/Disaster_Housing_Investigation.pdf

 

Testimonies can be found at:

Sheila Crowley: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Testimony-of-Sheila-Crowley-March-18-2009.pdf

Krystal Williams: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Testimony-Krystal-Williams.pdf

Karen Paup: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Karen-Paup-Testimony.pdf

Reilly Morse: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/Senate-Testimony-Morse.pdf

 

***House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Post-Katrina Response

The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response held a hearing on March 17 titled, “PKEMRA (Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006) Implementation: An Examination of FEMA’s Preparedness and Response Mission.”

 

The witnesses were Bill Jenkins, director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office; Corey Gruber, acting deputy administrator of the National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA; Richard Skinner, inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security; Mary Troupe, executive director of the Mississippi Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities; and Daniel Kaniewski, deputy director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University.

 

Throughout the hearing, several members of the committee and witnesses expressed their support of keeping FEMA under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security.

 

Chairman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) expressed this sentiment in his opening statement. “I understand that there are those who have called for FEMA’s removal from the Department and would like to act as if Congress never passed PKEMRA,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that enhancing the nation’s capacity to respond to large-scale incidents should not be an ‘us-versus-them’ battle. We can choose to ignore the great stride FEMA has made in their preparedness and response to the ice storms, fire, tornadoes, and floods since PKEMRA has been enacted. We can choose to discount the reality that Congress – not once, but twice – decided to locate FEMA within the Department…Some may choose to dig in their heels regarding FEMA’s location. I, however, will defer to the first responder community who has said that they need FEMA at DHS so that they can be full partners to respond to the nation’s emergencies.”

 

In a question posed to Mr. Skinner, Mr. Cuellar asked if FEMA is stronger than it was before. In his response, Mr. Skinner said, “The spotlight is certainly on FEMA. The difference between Katrina from other catastrophes is that it was amplified. I do think FEMA is stronger now than it ever was.” In a follow up, Mr. Skinner said that Congress should “continue to support FEMA and end discussions of tweaking it.”

 

In response to a question from Representative Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) about FEMA employees, Mr. Skinner replied, “Morale is low. People are wondering where we’re going to be tomorrow.”

 

In her written testimony, Ms. Troupe, a member of the Katrina Housing Group, advocated for the establishment of an Office on Disability/Office of Disability Coordination in FEMA that would report directly to the Administrator, with adequate authority, resources and staff for the Disability Coordinator to fulfill the responsibilities of that position as mandated in PKEMRA.

 

Ms. Troupe also urged establishment of additional support within all ten FEMA regions in the form of a Regional Disability Coordinator (RDC). Ms. Troupe said there is a lack of coordination between agencies to help assist people with disabilities. “Several states have a senior level official or office which coordinates with such volunteer groups and the FEMA Disability Coordinator serves as a point of contact for these entities at the federal level. FEMA Regional Disability Coordinators would provide a link between these state and federal networks,” Ms. Troupe said.

 

A webcast of the hearing can be found here: http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=178  

 

FROM THE FIELD

***WA Advocates Stand Up For Housing in State Capitol

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) and the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless (WSCH), both NLIHC state partners, coordinated “Stand Up For Housing,” the theme for this year’s Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day. On a rainy February 24, 560 advocates came from all across the state to make their voices heard in the state capital, Olympia. All but three legislative districts in the state were represented by a constituent, making this the biggest lobby day yet.

 

The pews were overflowing, the balcony was jammed, and there was standing room only at the church where the advocates gathered. People were given a legislative update, received advocacy training, and heard a panel of resident advocates discuss a variety of affordable housing issues. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown urged the crowd on, saying, “The process of public policy change moves forward when people at the grassroots level stand up, get united, and get their voices heard…to establish the bedrock of family values – which is affordable housing, a place to call home…”

 

Then the large group marched to the Capitol building for a rally on its steps, where they called on elected officials to ensure full funding for the Housing Trust Fund, which the Governor proposes to cut to $100 million from $200 million. Advocates also called for legislators to oppose the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the General Assistance/Unemployable program, which provides temporary, monthly cash assistance for 20,000 people who cannot work due to mental or physical illness or disability.

 

After the rally, advocates dispersed to meet with their individual elected officials. There were so many constituents from the 43rd District (Seattle) that the representative for that district had to sit on his filing cabinet to accommodate all of those from the “Fightin’ 43rd”.

 

As part of the day, nearly 200 manufactured homeowners pressed their elected officials to:

·                                 Require increased notice to manufactured home owners when community owners plan to evict them and redevelop the property.

·                                 Require community owners to notify manufactured home owners if the community is to be sold, so that residents have time to take action to preserve their community.

 

To see a four-minute video that captures highlights of the day, go to http://blip.tv/file/1818931.

 

For more information, contact Rachael Myers, Executive Director, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, rachael@wliha.org, or Mia Navarro Wells, Executive Director, Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, mia@endhomelessnesswa.org

 

RESOURCES

***Analyzing Immigrant and Renter Foreclosures in Minneapolis

The Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota posted a report on March 18 analyzing the



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