Advocate for Better Living
Nearly a third of the United States has housing problems, including lack of affordability, overcrowding, unsafe conditions and homelessness. In the District of Columbia alone, 25 percent of all households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing.
While building homes is central to our mission, it is only one piece of the puzzle. We must complement our ongoing housing programs with advocacy – so that our mission is taken on by others across our city and nation.
Here in the nation’s capital, volunteers have a unique opportunity to advocate for Habitat at both the local and national levels – by urging elected representatives to DC government and US Congress, as well as others in the community, to support the goals of DC Habitat. Tell them you’re concerned about the need for more affordable housing — owned and rented — in DC and across the country. Express your support for government funding to help create home ownership opportunities for lower income working families. And support other policies that impact the availability of decent, affordable homes for those who need them.
What are some examples of affordable housing advocacy groups and organizations in D.C.?
- Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) — The mission of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is to create and preserve opportunities for affordable housing and economic development and to revitalize underserved communities in the District of Columbia.
- DC Affordable Housing Alliance — The DC Affordable Housing Alliance is a broad community coalition of more than 30 organizations and senior citizens, developers, housing advocates, tenants, citizens with disabilities, and homeless families, working together for affordable housing in DC, especially for low-income residents.
- Housing Advocacy Team (HAT) — The mission of HAT is to join with others to create a constituency of concerned neighbors and friends who will act as a powerful voice to influence public policy and resource allocation for affordable housing and asset building in the District, with a particular focus on affordable homeownership.
- The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) — CNHED leads nonprofit community development organizations in ensuring that residents with low and moderate incomes have housing and economic opportunities in neighborhoods throughout the District.
What are some public policies that Habitat supports?
- Affordable Housing Trust Fund — A national affordable housing trust fund would be a new source of revenue to assist in the production of new housing and the preservation or rehabilitation of existing affordable housing.
- Property Rights for Women — Women who own land or property can use their assets as collateral for loans. Decades of research show that when women get more resources, they put their money towards making sure their children have better nutrition, education and health care.
- Homeownership Development Tax Credit — Tax credits stimulate the production of homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers.
- Federal Regulation of Government Sponsored Enterprises — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank play a critical role in expanding housing opportunity, and with the appropriate balance of regulation and operational flexibility, even more Americans will benefit from their services and investments.
- Prevention of Predatory Lending — The expansion of financial literacy and home ownership counseling programs teach consumers responsible borrowing practices.
For more information about housing policies and our federal legislative agenda, visit the Habitat International website.