Campaign Welcomes New State Grantees

The campaign has awarded capacity-building grants to seven state-based organizations that will work to advance the national campaign’s goals. Each grantee will use its funding to expand its state’s housing coalition to include stakeholders from non-housing sectors, including the health, education, racial equity, labor, food security, climate, faith, and anti-poverty sectors. In so doing, the grantees will join a growing housing movement focused on mobilizing stakeholders from many sectors to generate widespread support for federal policies that correct long-standing racial inequities and economic injustices by ensuring quality housing for people with low incomes.The new grantees were selected through a competitive proposal process and will be formally recognized as state affiliates of the national campaign. Each grantee demonstrated in its application a strong commitment to advancing federal affordable housing solutions for people with the lowest incomes, amplifying racial equity, and expanding partnerships to different sectors. By joining the OSAH campaign, the new grantees will gain access to resources, multi-sector networks, and technical assistance. The grantees are as follows:

  •  African American Clergy Collective of Tennessee
  • Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio
  • Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness
  • North Carolina Housing Coalition
  • Prosperity Indiana
  • South Carolina Association of Community Action Partnerships
  • Virginia Housing Alliance
“Today, the campaign celebrates nearly six years of working towards our shared vision of having a multi-sector movement in every state,” said Chantelle Wilkinson, national director of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign. “As state partners continue to join our efforts, new coalitions of doctors, teachers, environmentalists, social workers, faith leaders, housing advocates, and many others are working together to urge policymakers to address a basic need – housing. This work is critical. It is powerful for Congress to hear from national advocates, but it’s especially powerful for them to hear from their own constituents in the states they represent.”

The OSAH campaign will continue to pursue its efforts to involve partners in all 50 states. To date, the campaign supports partners in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Campaign Welcomes Julie Walker as OSAH Campaign Coordinator

We are excited to announce that Julie Walker will be our new Opportunity Starts at Home (OSAH) campaign coordinator! Julie worked previously with Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP), where she focused initially on rental assistance before shifting to staff and participant program training, managing the Client Advisory Board, and providing technical assistance to housing authorities developing housing mobility programs. Julie holds a master’s degree in social work from The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has followed NLIHC’s work throughout her education and career and is excited to be joining the organization. As OSAH campaign coordinator, she will support the OSAH campaign director in all communications, outreach, and advocacy plans.

Campaign Partner Children’s HealthWatch Publishes Article on “Rent Relief Act 2023”

Children’s HealthWatch (CHW) published an article in support of the “Rent Relief Act of 2023.” The article shows why safe, stable, and affordable homes are necessary for ensuring that children live healthy lives but observes that millions of families presently lack access to stable homes. The article also shares CHW research demonstrating that young children in families that have been behind on rent within the last year are more likely to experience developmental delays, be in poor health, and be hospitalized compared to young children whose families have been stably housed. A “stable home early in life is the foundation for good health and a child’s success,” according to the writers. On these grounds, the writers tout the Rent Relief Act of 2023, which would create a refundable monthly tax credit to alleviate financial burdens for cost-burdened renters (those paying 30% or more of their income on rent and utilities). “Our pediatricians and researchers often tell us that the prescription they want to write their patients is a healthy home,” write the authors. “The Rent Relief Act is that prescription. It is evidence-based, and an investment that pays dividends in the form of healthier, more resilient communities.”

Read the Article

Natural Resources Defense Council Releases Brief on Connections between Housing Justice, Health Equity, and Building Decarbonization

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released an issue brief in collaboration with other environmental groups exploring how housing justice and health equity in building decarbonization promote improved climate, housing, and health outcomes. Because nearly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S are released by buildings, building decarbonization – which involves replacing fossil fuel appliances and making energy efficiency modifications – can help reduce GHG emissions significantly. Even so, while building decarbonization efforts are essential to addressing climate change, they often fail to consider the intersections between decarbonization, health equity, and housing and thereby run the risk of perpetuating existing health and housing disparities. The brief reviews past discriminatory housing policies and practices that shaped current environmental inequities, highlights the evidence connecting poor housing quality and health disparities, and emphasizes the importance of centering the perspectives of the communities most adversely affected when developing building decarbonization policies. Doing so will support the formulation of policies that successfully slow climate change while simultaneously addressing longstanding health and housing disparities.

“Holistic building upgrades that are supported by government investment, center community leadership and engagement, and address affordability and health can both reduce climate emissions and significantly improve public health—with low income, Latine, and Black communities, manufactured home residents, renters, and others finally getting what they should have always been guaranteed: healthy and sustainable homes,” write the authors.

The brief is coauthored by the Building, Energy, Equity and Power Coalition (BEEP), a group of environmental justice organizations in California that represent and advocate on behalf of low-income people and communities of color and lead local equitable building decarbonization efforts in Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, and the Bay Area.

Read the Issue Brief

National Housing Trust Shares Insights on Connections between Climate Resilience and Senior Housing

National Housing Trust (NHT) published an article by its managing director for policy and solutions, Danielle Arigoni, addressing NHT’s work at the intersections of climate resilience and senior housing. In her recently published book Climate Resilience for an Aging Nation, Arigoni argues that centering older adults in climate resilience efforts is necessary for many reasons. For example, many older adults live in their own homes, face additional challenges to new climate conditions, and represent an ever-increasing share of our population. In the article, Arigoni reviews many of the arguments made in the book and calls for affordable housing investment, development, and rehabilitation that includes resilience measures and mitigates climate-related risks. She also highlights how NHT is working to ensure that climate investments in affordable housing reach seniors through advocacy, capacity building, and property development.

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