Habitat on the Hill is Habitat’s annual legislative conference, during which advocates for decent housing, including Habitat staff members, board members, homeowners, volunteers and youth from across the country, gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss Habitat’s legislative priorities, attend advocacy and policy-related workshops, and hold face-to-face meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
There has never been a more important time for the American people to stand up for quality, affordable housing and the federal programs that serve as its backbone. It should be the goal of every housing advocate to ensure lawmakers do not lose sight of the effectiveness and significance of funding for housing programs that allow families and individuals to build better lives for themselves. Here is what Habitat representatives are advocating for this week:
Administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 1992, HOME provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use in partnership with local nonprofit groups, including Habitat affiliates, to fund a wide range of affordable housing activities. HOME is the only federal block grant program designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. HOME supports the work of hundreds of Habitat affiliates nationwide.
Through the Section 502 Direct Home Loan Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assists low and very-low income households in obtaining safe, decent, and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas. USDA provides direct subsidized, low-interest loans to eligible families, for up to 33 year terms (38 years for very-low income).
The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) is an important, unique and efficient federal program. SHOP supports non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity that use the self-help model to acquire land, purchase foreclosed or abandoned properties and improve the infrastructure of homes for the first time, lower-income homeowners.
AmeriCorps and National Service
For more than 23 years, Habitat for Humanity and the Corporation for National and Community Service have partnered together to build Habitat’s capacity to serve more families across the country.