August 12, 2015

Over the past few weeks, the HOME Coalition -- led by the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) --- has spread the word about the need to protect and restore funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).  Responding to the Senate Appropriations Committee proposal to cut the HOME program by 93 percent from its already record low FY 2015 funding level, the HOME Coalition conducted two large-scale efforts to engage stakeholders nationwide: a national sign-on letter to Congressional leadership with more than 1,500 organization signatories and a national webinar with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro with upwards of 900 registered attendees calling in from every state in the nation.

The national sign-on letter, which the HOME Coalition sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), calls on Congress to lift the caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and restore HOME funding to no less than $1.06 billion, as requested by the Administration for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. Signatories of the letter include municipalities, for-profit and nonprofit housing developers, community development organizations, state and local government officials, homelessness organizations, health advocates, veterans groups, rural housing organizations, faith-based organizations, and others who are deeply concerned by the proposed cuts to the HOME program in both the FY 2016 House and Senate bills.

The August 4 webinar provided an opportunity for participants to hear directly from HUD Secretary Castro about the importance of HOME and the need to preserve and adequately fund the program.   After the Secretary’s remarks and a brief Q&A session, the HOME Coalition encouraged all participants to use the August Recess when members of Congress are at home in their districts (August 10 to September 7) as an opportunity to engage their Senators and Representatives to restore funding to HOME. Participants also received a follow-up email with a series of resources to help with their advocacy efforts, including  a fact sheet on the Senate's proposed cuts; state by state infographics on what these cuts would mean; a summary advocacy toolkit with best practices for engaging members of Congress; key House and Senate targets, along with their contact information; sample letters to Members of Congress and mayors or local government officials; sample op-ed for local newspapers; and social media strategies including the #SaveHOME hashtag.

The HOME Coalition will continue its strong advocacy efforts into the fall with a special report on HOME that will be used to further educate members of Congress on this vital program. Affordable housing developers and tenants are being asked to submit HOME Success Stories for publication in this report.

For more information on the HOME Coalition and how proposed cuts to the program will impact your state, please visit the HOME Coalition website.