CNHED’s Advocacy Day Draws Over 140 to the Wilson Building to Restore Funding to Affordable Housing and Neighborhood-Based Programs
On Tuesday, 140 people from around the city came to the Wilson Building to advocate for Housing for All and neighborhood-based economic development. Dressed in bright yellow shirts, Continuum of Housing Campaign supporters, affordable housing residents, housing providers, small business owners, homeless advocates and allies came to send a strong message to the DC Council. Excessive cuts to affordable housing, neighborhood investments and small businesses are not acceptable and will not be tolerated!
Advocacy Day began with a lively meeting of residents and members speaking about programs cut in the FY 2012 budget. CNHED asked for restoration or maintenance of programs that are crucial to meeting the affordable housing need and investing in our neighborhoods. (Click here to view CNHED’s official Budget Request.) We were hosted by Drew Hubbard, Director, Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, representing Councilmember Michael Brown and joined by Councilmembers Marion Barry and Jim Graham. Each of them supported our requests and urged us to keep up the pressure on the Council to restore our programs. Councilmember Marion Barry encouraged us all to be visible each and every day in the Wilson Building until the budget vote. There are tough decisions to be made on the budget and we have to let the DC Council know we are unwavering in our call for restoration of funding of affordable housing and small business assistance programs!
Following the initial meeting, the crowd then split up into 12 groups consisting of CNHED members, residents and advocates, and headed to Council offices to talk to Councilmembers and senior staffers about our Budget Request. Residents told their personal stories of how gaining decent, affordable housing through the Local Rent Supplement Program and Housing First had changed their lives. Tenants told the story of how they wanted to purchase their building, but could not because of the lack of any money from the Housing Production Trust Fund. Those who work with small businesses spoke about the importance of the Small Business Technical Assistance Program and others focused on the Neighborhood Investment Fund and Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation out of school programs for youth living in affordable housing.
We received a positive response to our requests from a number of Councilmembers; however, the fight is far from over. In a year when affordable housing is facing over $40 million dollars in cuts, it is crucial that we show our elected officials that we will not stand quietly by while affordable housing is moved off the table. We will continue our advocacy through Wednesday, May 25, when the DC Council votes on this budget, and we need your help!
Join CNHED at 10:00 am on May 25th in your yellow CNHED t-shirt to show the DC Council we are watching as they vote on the FY12 Budget. Even before that you can get involved by calling, emailing, or visiting the Council. Click here for more info.