Network attends, advocates for federal policy goals
The Network was proud to participate in the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)’s annual conference in Washington, DC last month. The event included a keynote address from US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, who praised the coalition’s 40-year history of fighting for affordable housing. He recalled that in his earlier days at HUD, under then-Secretary Andrew Cuomo, he frequently saw Coalition founder Cushing Dolbeare have lunch with his boss. “Cushing was my hero’s hero,” the Secretary related.
We were honored to participate this year as both workshop presenters and New York State captains for the advocacy day held after the conference.
Network Executive Director Ted Houghton presented on a panel on the Affordable Care Act, in which he highlighted New York’s Medicaid Redesign efforts. The panel also featured Christine Campbell of Housing Works, the organization behind the Housing Is Healthcare campaign, and Peggy Bailey, CSH’s expert on healthcare. The Network’s Steve Piasecki appeared on several panels to discuss another federal campaign, United for Homes. In a conversation led by Coalition Executive Director Sheila Crowley, Mr. Piasecki shared the challenges and successes of gaining support for United for Homes in New York. Mr. Piasecki also had the privilege of introducing Mark Johnston of HUD for the annual “Ask HUD” session.
An advocacy day capped off the conference. On this day, we met with elected officials and their staff to advocate for funding for the National Housing Trust Fund and increases in funding for key HUD programs, including the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Program. We held 10 meetings on the House side and met with the offices of both Senators Schumer and Gillibrand. In these Senate meetings, we pressed for support for the Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform bill. This legislation would reform the financial services agencies and permanently fund the Housing Trust Fund at levels that would bring $400 million annually to New York to build and operate affordable housing for people below 30% of the area median income. Senate passage of the bill would set a high standard for Housing Trust Fund allocations, which would hopefully remain in the final legislation. The final bill may not emerge until after the November elections.
We thank NLIHC for organizing another successful conference!