An Icy Conference in DC
Collaborations are a valuable resource
Relationships in Washington, DC are a little icy lately anyway. Add to that an inch of sleet and freezing rain and the place becomes downright treacherous.
In an unfortunate schedule change, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) held its annual conference in early March instead of mid-April (think cherry blossom time). This year’s focus was on collaboration. News from HUD has been and remains of a continued downward pressure on funding for existing affordable housing programs. Several speakers outlined the challenges in the FY2016 federal budget. There is little hope that previous cuts in our critical programs can be restored.
Rather than send everyone home to shut off the lights, speaker after speaker spoke of seeking opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. There are many organizations working to improve people’s lives. Each of these organizations have goals and strategies that most likely involve safe, stable affordable housing in some form. Matching housing resources with resources from health, neighborhood development, transportation, education, nutritional and job training organizations helps everyone realize their vision.
Sound familiar? This IS the basis for the PCHTF strategy for 2015. It is the message of our recently released annual report. It is the theme for our Affordable Housing Week conference in April. It is the basis for the $250,000.00 grant we are working on with the Polk County Health Department and the health care community. According to the NLIHC, it is the future of affordable housing.
Eric Burmeister is the Executive Director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.