The US Conference of Mayors
Endorses The Campaign

“Communities across the country are challenged by ongoing federal disinvestment in affordable housing. The research is clear that housing is inextricably linked to nearly every measure of having a quality life.”  –US Conference of Mayors

At its 86th annual meeting, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) passed a Resolution to support and affirm the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign.  The USCM is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.

There are 1,408 such cities in the United States today.  Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official — the mayor.

The positions adopted at the annual meeting collectively represent the views of the nation’s mayors and are distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.

The campaign is pleased to receive this powerful endorsement and looks forward to further collaboration with the USCM.

To read the whole resolution, click here

Anti-Hunger Advocates are Housing Advocates

Research shows that “severely cost-burdened renters are 23% more likely than those with less severe burdens to face difficulty purchasing food” (Health Affairs).  Anti-hunger advocates understand that many households that struggle to pay rent also have difficulties buying adequate food.
The campaign’s newest “sector” page highlights the deep connections between housing and hunger. 

Check out the new Housing and Hunger page

Listen to the Latest Podcast on iTunes! 

Episode 3 dives into the deep connections between housing and education with a nationally recognized expert in the field: Dr. Heather Schwartz from RAND Education. She is the author of some of the most influential studies over the past decade on the connections between housing and schools. Dr. Schwartz takes the audience through her work, showing how affordable housing policies can promote higher educational attainment for low-income children – sometimes even more so than traditional education reform strategies.

Click here to listen!

State Campaigns in the Spotlight! 

To continually broaden our multi-sector effort, the Opportunity Starts at Homecampaign selected seven state partners to receive capacity-building grants.  A key objective of each of the seven state grantees will be to broaden and diversify its state’s housing coalition to other sectors. This effort will ensure that each state not only has active coalition members who specialize in housing, but also health care, education, civil rights, anti-poverty, and other sectors.  The current grantees are:

As the campaign grows over time, Opportunity Starts at Home will encourage similar efforts in all states.  These state grantees have done tremendous and extraordinary work thus far.  In this month’s newsletter, we highlight Maine and Ohio:

Making Maine Together
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition has named its multi-sector state campaign “Maine Together” and plans to launch its website and social media later this month.

Recently, the coalition penned a sign-on letter to Maine’s congressional delegation advocating for the lifting of federal budget caps for non-defense discretionary programs.  The letter was signed by 151 organizations from a variety of sectors and was hand-delivered to the office of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Maine Together continues to advocate for more robust federal housing policies and has met with Sen. Collins’ staff to discuss their ongoing efforts.  They have formalized relationships with 20 cross-sector organizations and plan to continue broadening their reach.
Outstanding Outreach in Ohio
The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) has been working hard to continually diversify the coalition that makes up the movement for affordable homes.  For example, it recently hosted a multi-sector outreach event with Representative David Joyce (R-OH), Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Topics included the intersections of affordable housing, the needs of low incomecollege students, and service delivery to people experiencing chronic mental illness.  Additionally, the coalition hosted an event with elected officials outside of Dayton, which included a multi-sector panel on the importance of affordable housing for the lowest income families, as well as a tour of local developments.

Left to right: Gina Wilt, advocacy director for COHHIO;
Karen McLeod, executive director of Extended Housing; Representative David Joyce; Nate Coffman, executive director of the Ohio CDC Association;
Bill Faith, executive director of COHHIO.

The coalition is using these expanded relationships to increasingly advocate for stronger federal housing policies.  For example, it recently sent a sign-on letter with endorsements from more than 250 multi-sector organizations to their Congressional delegation advocating for increased HUD funding.  Moreover, COHHIO helped draft an op-ed by a coalition member, Ohio Federation of Teachers, that was published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

COHHIO also shot brief videos of more than a dozen multi-sector partners discussing the importance of housing and distributed them to Ohio’s congressional delegation through social media.  Check out these video postcards on COHHIO’s  YouTube channel.

Children’s Defense Fund: Housing Subsidy Would Have Largest Impact on Reducing Child Poverty

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), a leading non-profit child advocacy organization and Steering Committee member of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, knows that greater investments in affordable housing are necessary to end child poverty in America.  In its groundbreaking report, “Ending Child Poverty Now,” CDF showed that investing an additional 2% of the federal budget into nine existing programs would reduce child poverty by 60% and lift 6.6 million children out of poverty.  The report finds that expanding housing subsidies would have the single largest impact among the nine, reducing child poverty by 20.8% and lifting 2.3 million children out of poverty.

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