-quote from Secretary Carson at National Low Income Housing Coalition Policy Forum.
Two Network staff members traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 2nd-4th to participate in the National Low Income Housing Coalition Policy Forum and Lobby Day. The event convened more than 300 housing advocates for a series of panels on topics ranging from effective communication strategies to policies for long-term rental subsidies, as well as keynote speeches by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA-43).
Secretary Carson assured the audience that “no one is going to be thrown out on the street” on his watch. In response to concerns about the administration’s proposed $6.2 billion cuts to HUD, he referred to a future infrastructure bill and explained that it would include a significant investment in housing. Carson also spoke about the importance of finding efficiencies in government programs and fiscal conservatism in light of the national debt.
In a speech that stood in stark contrast to Secretary Carson’s, Representative Waters spoke about her proposed Ending Homelessness Act of 2016, a $13 billion five-year initiative to fund housing and services for the homeless. The proposed legislation would permanently authorize the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The latter program, which coordinates 19 federal agencies in a joint effort to end homelessness, would be eliminated by Trump’s proposed budget. Like New York City, Waters’ home district of Los Angeles has also seen homelessness increase, even as figures nation-wide have declined slightly.
On the final day of the Forum, advocates from 37 states visited their representatives on Capitol Hill for a Lobby Day. As a NLIHC state partner, the Network coordinated meetings along with our colleagues from NYCHA, Legal Aid Society, Picture the Homeless, LiveOn NY, Tenants and Neighbors, the Rochester YWCA, and New York Housing Conference. Meetings took place with senior staff for 13 representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committee, focusing on reforming the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and HUD funding for HOME Investment Partnerships Program, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance, public housing and Section 8. (See full NLIHC policy platforms here).