Habitat on the Hill 2022
Habitat on the Hill is an annual, nation-wide conference for Habitat affiliate staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters from all across the country to come together to advocate for legislation that supports affordable homeownership.
Habitat Chesapeake was pleased to participate in a series of meetings with advocates from federal departments, nonprofits, and other Habitat affiliates in preparation for Thursday’s day on the Hill discussing policy with lawmakers.
This is a critical time for you to lend your voice.
– Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Day 1 of Habitat on the Hill featured a plenary session with Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman discussing the importance of affordable housing to families and households. Representative David Price and Senator Rob Portman were awarded the Housing Champion Award for supporting homeownership and programs for housing – the latter having worked with Maryland’s own Senator Ben Cardin to reintroduce the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act in 2021. The first day included sessions with panels of experts on topics such as Addressing Barriers and Identifying Solutions to Increase Access to Credit and Turning NIMBY into YIMBY: Overcoming Opposition to Advance Equitable Housing Policies.
Deputy Secretary Adrienne Todman spoke with Habitat Senior Director Stephen Seidel to kick off the week’s events
Day 2 of the conference included a panel discussion on the housing supply shortage and a session on the federal policy priorities. The housing supply shortage has been exacerbated by increasing constructions and land costs and a shortage of labor during a global pandemic. Vox Policy Reporter Jerusalem Demsas joined a panel of experts including Shannon Ross, VP of Policy at the Housing Partnership Network, and Phyllis Snodgrass, the CEO of Austin Habitat.
“If you don’t get your arms around the housing supply shortage, you’re going to have a really hard time getting around inflation,” said Jim Parrot, fellow at the Urban Institute, speaking on the ways that the affordable housing stock intersects with many aspects of the economy, and how investing in affordable housing now will benefit developers and people across the wealth divide.
“The housing supply issue exacerbates the gap and has been perpetuating it even before the passage of the Fair Housing Act. What we’re recognizing now is that this is just going to be compounded in terms of wealth compounding wealth and disadvantage clumping on historic disadvantage,” said Bryan Greene, VP of Policy Advocacy for the National Association of Realtors. Equitable access to affordable housing is critical, as the disparity in the racial wealth gap continues to grow.
We have the worst housing supply constraints in recorded history and the needs that exist transcend ideological and geographical lines. Bipartisanship is needed to address those.
– Mark Kudlowitz, Senior Director of Policy, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
The second day of the conference also focused on Habitat’s policy priorities for the government 2023 fiscal year. As Congress plans the budget for FY23, Habitat is working to ensure that affordable housing stays a focus for legislators.
Habitat’s legislative asks for Habitat on the Hill 2022 include:
- Supporting the Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund, which would support nonprofit developers like Habitat to create or preserve single-family homes by creating a competitive grant program at HUD.
- Support vital housing and community development programs, such as Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and USDA 502, which would be the only federal loan program to exclusively target low-income rural families.
Elisabeth Gehl, Director of Federal Relations, Habitat for Humanity International spoke on ways to emphasize the housing crisis to legislators during Thursdays meetings on the Hill
As Habitat Chesapeake works alongside other affiliates to build a more equitable future, consider lending your support by contacting your local, state, or federal legislators about the need for affordable housing options and homeownership as wealth-building for all. Add your voice to our campaign here – it’s easy, fast, and free, and every voice needs to be heard! Share your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #CostOfHome to tell your representatives why it should be affordable for everyone to have a place to call home, and visit habitat.org/costofhome to learn more about Habitat’s advocacy goals.
As always, thank you for your ongoing support!
About Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (www.habitatchesapeake.org) brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake has built more than 770 homes in 18 communities, providing a brighter future for 2,700 children and family members. Homeownership is proven to transform lives – improving health, increasing children’s chances of academic success and offering an opportunity to build wealth across generations. Likewise, homeownership enhances neighborhoods by bringing tangible investment, engaged, long-term residents, rising property values and a sense of community.
Above: Habitat Chesapeake joined local advocates on the Hill in 2019 to petition lawmakers to prioritize housing. Below: “We have to hold our policymakers accountable if we want to build a more equitable future,” said Sarah Reddinger of Habitat Metro Maryland to a panel discussing strategies to address NIMBYism.