Rally for Housing
Build Back Better Act and a Rally for Housing
Ivory N. Mathews, Chair of the SERC-NAHRO Legislative Network Committee & Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Housing
I am humbly honored and excited to serve as the 2021-2023 Chair of the Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official (SERC-NAHRO) Legislative Network Committee. SERC-NAHRO's mission is to facilitate the development of new affordable housing and the preservation of existing housing. To my dear colleagues and affordable housing ambassadors in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, to fulfill this mission, with your commitment to affordable housing advocacy we are going to continue the work of creating diverse, equitable and inclusive housing solutions for the 889,100 families we serve throughout the southeast region.
In addition to my commitment to SERC-NAHRO, I also advocate for affordable housing and community development initiates on a local, state, and national level in the following roles:
- Chief Executive Officer - Columbia Housing, Columbia, SC
- Member - Legislative Network Committee of NAHRO
- President-Elect - Carolina's Council of Housing, Redevelopment & Codes Officials (CCHRCO) - 2021-2022
- Legislative Representative - SC - Legislative Network Committee of CCHRCO
- Member - Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee for the South Carolina State Housing Finance, & Development Authority
- Member - SC Association of Housing Authority Executive Directors
- Member - Affordable Housing Taskforce, City of Columbia
My passion for housing equality runs deep and I am 100% committed to the work of transforming lives for the people in our communities who need us the most.
Mike Sweet, THANK YOU!
Paying homage to affordable housing trailblazers is so important and before I sign-on to take the helm as your 2021-2023 SERC-NAHRO Legislative Network Committee Chair, I must recognize and give thanks to my dear colleague and former Chair of the SERC-NAHRO Legislative Network Committee Mike Sweet, Executive Director of the Chickasaw Housing Authority for his phenomenal leadership. As a member of the SERC-NAHRO Legislative Committee, I've learned a lot from Mike over the years and I plan to incorporate those nuggets of excellence in taking our legislative work to its next level of success.
SERC-NAHRO Legislative Advocacy Matters
I am proud of SERC-NAHRO's legislative actions in leading the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) this past summer by sending over 20,000 letters to Congress and the White House during the month of August. This action spoke volumes to what SERC-NAHRO can achieve when we are all in. NAHRO nation sent over 43,000 letters, ensuring that our voices were heard loud and clear.
Why is this noteworthy and super important? Because of SERC-NAHRO's advocacy in sending letters urging Congress to invest in public housing, historic housing infrastructure legislation was released in September, proposing over $300 billion in investments in housing, including $80 billion in the Public Housing Capital Fund and $75 billion in new incremental vouchers.
The House Financial Services Committee portion of the bill (including $3.5 trillion infrastructure legislation) was expected to move through Congress this fall. Earlier this summer, Congress approved a budget resolution that provided committees with broad instructions on how to write the infrastructure legislation. (Please note that this is a distinct bill and process that is separate from the $1 trillion bipartisan package agreed to in principle this summer.) The budget resolution instructed the Financial Services Committee to spend $332 billion on housing and transportation programs. The legislation details over $300 billion in housing investments, which demonstrates that housing is a top priority for lawmakers.
- $80 billion: Public Housing Capital Fund
- $75 billion: New Incremental Vouchers
- $8.5 billion: Community Development Block Grant
- $35 billion: HOME Investment Partnerships
- $37 billion: Housing Trust Fund:
- $15 billion: Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance
- $4 billion: PBRA property improvements
- $1 billion: Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief
- $1 billion: Supportive Housing for Elderly
- $2.5 billion: Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
- $6 billion: Loans for Water and Energy Efficiency
- $9.64 billion: Housing Investment Fund through CDFI
- $1.65 billion: Native Housing Block Grant
The infrastructure legislation has gone through a bit of tug of war and uncertainty as members of Congress were concerned about the cost of this historic investment. As discussions heated up, many believed that housing was in jeopardy of being completely eliminated from the bill.
Build Back Better Act
On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.9 Trillion Build Back Better Act, which includes $150 billion targeted to affordable housing. This historic legislation is the single largest investment in public housing's history and it has the power to transform our communities like never before.
The $150 billion proposed for housing programs will be put to work in our community to preserve affordable housing, enhance rental assistance, provide down payment assistance, and bolster community development resources. The bill includes:
- $65 billion: Public Housing investments
- $24 billion: Housing Choice Vouchers
- Expanded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
- $15 billion: National Housing Trust Fund
- $10 billion: HOME Investment Partnerships Program
- $3 billion: Community Development Block Grants
- $1 billion: Project-Based Rental Assistance
- $450 million: Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
- $450 million: Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
The legislation is now being considered by the U.S. Senate, which is certain to make additional changes. It is anticipated that the Senate will vote as soon as the week of December 13, 2021.
NAHRO Rally for Housing ' Fighting for $150 Billion in Build Back Better
Please join us online on Thursday, December 9, 2021, at 12 noon Eastern for the NAHRO Rally for Housing in support of vital affordable housing investments in the Build Back Better Act (BBB). Thanks to the hard work of NAHRO members, $150+ billion for housing programs is now in the BBB passed by the House. Now, this historic investment in our nation's housing is headed to the Senate. And we need your help to get it through Congress and onto the President's desk for signature.
At the rally, you'll hear from NAHRO President Patricia Wells, Interim NAHRO CEO Mike Gerber, Legislative Network Advisory Committee chairs Jennifer Keogh and Ivory Mathews, and special surprise guests. Join us, and learn about what we need to do and how you can help to get this vital legislation across the finish line.
We're so close, NAHRO advocates! Join us at the rally - let's get this done!
Legislative Advocacy 101
Elected officials care about what their constituents have to say. SERC-NAHRO Legislative Network Committee will be highlighting a few basic areas of legislative advocacy to ensure that all of our members are informed and engaged in SERC-NAHRO's legislative advocacy efforts.
What is Legislative Advocacy? Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence the introduction, enactment, or modification of legislation. The most common means of legislative advocacy is direct lobbying, which entails contacting a legislator, sharing your views on an issue, and asking him or her to vote a specific way on a bill. This can be done with something as easy as a phone call or letter, or by a formal meeting with the legislator or staff person.
SERC-NAHRO Legislative Network Committee will be sharing prewritten materials with you to make it easy for all of our members to become active participants in our legislative advocacy efforts.
Why Advocacy? One of the most important aspects of our system of government is that it is representative-those who make our laws represent us. But how can they represent us unless we let them know what we are thinking?
We can and should remind leaders of their responsibilities to their constituents and offer them constructive ideas. If we do, we can bring about public policy changes. It's not a difficult thing to do, and it doesn't take a lot of time. It just takes the will to act and speak out for yourself and on behalf of those who may not be able to speak for themselves.
SERC-NAHRO's Legislative Network Committee will be creating tools for maximizing our advocacy efforts. We will be sharing these tools with you in the very near future.
How the Legislative Process Works (State Level)
The chart below shows the most common way that proposed legislation is enacted into law. Many bills, however, do not become law because their progress is stopped somewhere during the process-in committee, on the floor of the House or Senate, in conference or by gubernatorial veto.
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