[Hpn] NLIHC Memo to Members, Vol. 5, No. 21

I CAN! icanamerica@email.msn.com
Sun, 28 May 2000 11:28:28 -0500


National Low Income Housing Coalition
Memo to Members
May 26, 2000
Vol. 5, No. 21

In This Issue:

Point of View
Capitol Hill
     House Appropriations Mark Falls Short and Raises Issues
about Voucher Utilization
     Expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credit in
Clinton-Hastert Agreement
     House Budget Committee Task Force Holds Hearing on
Income Verification
     McKinney Block Granting Hearing
     At A Glance
Field Notes
     Minnesota
     California
PHRA/QHWRA Trainings For Public Housing Resident Leaders and
Advocates
Resources and Events
Fact of the Week
Website of the Week
NLIHC Staff News
Job Announcement

------------------------------------

***** Point of View, by Sheila Crowley

As NLIHC members have been reporting for some time, problems
with full utilization of tenant-based assistance limit the
usefulness of vouchers as a response to the affordable
housing crisis. Although most people who receive vouchers
are able to find housing, there are enough people who cannot
to raise real concern. The entrance into the housing market
of voucher holders displaced by Section 8 opt-outs and
demolition of public housing, coupled with rising rents and
low vacancy rates in many cities, has heightened awareness
of the problem and prompted renewed recognition of the need
for production of new housing for low income people. In the
meantime, ways to improve voucher utilization locally and on
a national basis are now at the top of the housing agenda.

Improved voucher use is a high priority for the National Low
Income Housing Coalition, both to assure that the
tenant-based assistance already appropriated is used
effectively and to blunt arguments against adding new
incremental vouchers to the HUD budget. In order to better
understand the impediments to voucher use, last year NLIHC
convened stakeholders in the voucher program to learn their
viewpoints, reviewed all the research and literature on
tenant-based assistance, and surveyed voucher administrators
about their practices. The findings (see NLIHC report
Scarcity and Success on NLIHC website) indicate three broad
classifications of impediments to voucher use: lack of
available housing affordable with a voucher, discrimination
by landlords against voucher holders (either because they
are poor or as a proxy for racial discrimination), or poor
performance by voucher administrators.

HUD's proposed voucher success fund in its FY2001 budget
request is intended to provide resources to help voucher
holders in their housing searches, building on the lessons
learned from mobility counseling programs. HUD is also
planning to shift voucher funds from jurisdictions with low
utilization rates to jurisdictions with high rates to insure
maximum use of each year's tenant based assistance. HUD
reports that half of unused tenant based assistance is in
just 50 PHAs. No PHA should consider itself entitled to a
share of tenant-based assistance that it is unable or
unwilling to use, thereby depriving people on waiting lists
in communities where vouchers could be used of badly needed
assistance. In addition, discussion of moving the Fair
Market Rent back up to the 45th percentile from the 40th
percentile is very preliminary, but at least is on the
table.

The House Appropriations Committee has offered its own
proposals to the debate. One is to limit distribution of new
incremental vouchers to PHAs with at least a 97% utilization
rate, a highly sensible policy. Another is the designation
of "difficult utilization areas" and allowing voucher
administrators to go to 150% of the FMR and use funds to
provide additional assistance to voucher holders in their
search, similar to the HUD voucher success fund and a good
idea. Unfortunately, the House Appropriations Committee also
is using the voucher utilization problem to justify its
failure to fund new vouchers: "It's like throwing money down
a hole" in the words of HUD-VA Subcommittee Chair Jim Walsh
(R-NY). This is shortsighted. Experiments with program
reforms, such as those that HUD and the Committee are
proposing, should be coupled with new investments to
continue to strengthen the program.

An important issue that emerged from the NLIHC study of
voucher use was the secondary status of tenant-based
programs within PHAs or Housing Finance Agencies that
administer other larger programs. It is easy to let a
program sink into mediocrity or worse if it is not the
marquee program of the agency. A Section 8 administrator in
Ohio who contacted me this week reaffirmed this observation.
He is working with other Section 8 administrators in his
state to improve both the operation and standing of
tenant-based programs in the housing agencies.

Local and state housing advocates need to develop the
capacity to monitor the agencies that administer
tenant-based assistance and intervene when administration is
bogged down. In 1998, HUD recaptured $31 million of Section
8 funds that the Virginia Housing Development Authority had
failed to distribute to local programs after repeated
warnings by HUD that Virginia was in danger of losing these
funds. Advocates were not informed of the loss under after
the recapture had occurred. The lowly status of the Section
8 program within Virginia housing finance agency contributed
the lack of attention to the issue before it was too late.

It is ironic then that the Senate is considering an
amendment to the 1998 public housing reform act to exempt
housing finance agencies from the requirement that boards
and commissions that govern public housing and tenant-based
assistance have at least one resident on them. The rationale
behind this attempt to dilute the resident participation
provisions of the 1998 act is that housing finance agencies
deal with many more issues than Section 8 and these would be
of little interest to the section 8 resident. It is
precisely because they deal with more than Section 8 that
housing finance agencies need a resident in a decision
making position, to prevent section 8 programs from being
ignored. If a resident had been on the VHDA board in 1998,
another 3,800 poor families in Virginia might now be
benefiting from the lost $31 million.


***** Capitol Hill

*** House Appropriations Mark Falls Short and Raises Issues
about Voucher Utilization

The House VA-HUD-IA Subcommittee unveiled its plans for the
FY2001 HUD budget on May 23 and the inadequacy of the
subcommittee's allocation became clear. All programs are
flat or reduced when compared to FY2000 appropriations and
none measure up to the President's request (see chart
(attached in MS-Word for Windows format or on website at
http://www.nlihc.org/news/52600chart.htm). Particularly
startling are cuts to HOME and CDBG, two of HUD's most
popular programs with lawmakers. The Public Housing Capital
Fund is also slated for a cut from FY2000, a puzzlement
given Subcommittee Chair Jim Walsh's (R-NY) concern over the
backlog of modernization in public housing. HUD has
denounced the House budget plan as lacking "compassion and
common sense."

The only item that received increased budget authority was
the Housing Certificate Fund. Mr. Walsh announced and the
committee report indicates that all Section 8 contracts will
be renewed, including enhanced vouchers and tenant
protection. Shelter Plus Care renewals are also included in
the Housing Certificate Fund as the President requested.
This only moves the Shelter Plus Care renewals out of
McKinney into the mainstream Section 8 program for one year.
Permanent transfer requires authorizing legislation.
Further, Senate appropriators want Shelter Plus Care
renewals to be the funded off the top of the McKinney funds
and are resisting transfer of the program, a long overdue
move for which housing and homeless advocates are pushing.

However, the Housing Certificate Fund language is full of
complicated provisos that count on recaptures, as well as an
expectation of a rescission of $275 million. HUD asserts
that the level of recaptures expected by the committee are
unrealistic ($2.295 billion) and that the era of finding
unspent Section 8 money is coming to an end. The
Administration calculated $1.295 billion of offsets for
FY2001, which includes $600 million in project-based
recaptures compared to $1.6 billion in FY2000 and $2.6
billion in FY99. The remaining projected recaptures are in
tenant-based programs.

The Subcommittee provides for additional expenditures from
the Housing Certificate Fund, but only if the level of
recaptured funds is what it predicts. These are in order of
priority: $25 million to non-elderly disabled people
affected by the designation of some buildings are elderly
only, $192 million for Section 8 contract administrators,
$66 million for new vouchers that are attached to new low
income housing tax credits (HUD's proposal to support new
production that is affordable to extremely low income
families), and $60 million for 10,000 new incremental
vouchers, far less than the President's request for 120,000
new incremental vouchers.

Problems with voucher utilization are emphasized in the
committee's report, and the level of recaptured unspent
Section 8 funds from PHAs last year is cited as failure to
assist 237,000 families with housing assistance. Any new
voucher funds must be distributed within four months of
enactment of the bill or be forfeited and HUD may only
distribute new voucher funds to PHAs that have a 97%
utilization rate or better. HUD is also directed to report
to the Appropriations Committee by January 15, 2001 on what
it is doing to improve voucher utilization.

The Subcommittee offers assistance in improving voucher
utilization by creating authority for designating "difficult
utilization areas" (low vacancy rates or high rates of
inflation in rents, for example) and then allowing funds to
be used to go up to 150% of the Fair Market Rent or to
provide services to voucher holders in their housing
searches. This provision is in lieu of the $50 million
voucher success fund proposed by the Administration.

It is noteworthy that the Subcommittee failed to provide any
funding for APIC, a day after the President and the Speaker
of the House announced an agreement to do so. The
elimination of any funding for Americorps, a personal
favorite of the President, is a sure invitation for a veto
and indicates that this year's appropriation process is far
from over.

Advocates should contact their representatives now to inform
them of the impact of these cuts in their communities. Watch
for a district-by-district analysis, coming soon to the
NLIHC website.

*** Expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credit in
Clinton-Hastert Agreement

On May 22 President Bill Clinton and Speaker of the House
Dennis Hastert (R-IL) jointly announced a bipartisan
agreement on economic development initiatives that include
raising the per capita cap on the LIHTC from $1.25 to $1.75
and indexing it for inflation. Other initiatives in their
plan the new markets tax credits and venture capital,
funding for APIC (America's Private Investment Companies),
nine more empowerment zones, and creation of 40 "renewal
communities." The agreement brings together elements of the
Administration's economic development approaches with those
proposed by Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) in H.R. 815, his
community renewal bill. The agreement also allows federal
funding for religiously based substance abuse prevention and
treatment programs, a key principle in the Watts bill.

Enthusiasm over the announcement waned after it was apparent
that the word had not made its way to House appropriators
who did not include the funding for APIC in their HUD
appropriations mark approved the next day. There were also
signs of ambiguity over the details of the expansion of the
LIHTC as the week went on.

*** House Budget Committee Task Force Holds Hearing on
Income Verification

The Task Force on Housing and Infrastructure of the House
Budget Committee held a hearing on Thursday, May 25 on
overpayments by HUD to PHAs and property owners for housing
assistance. The task force is chaired by Rep. John Sununu
(R-NH) and Rep. Ken Bentsen (D-TX) is the ranking member.
Witnesses were HUD Office of Inspector General Special
Agents Raymond Carolan and Emil Schuster, HUD Deputy
Secretary Saul Ramirez, and NLIHC President Sheila Crowley.

The HUD Inspector General has issued annual reports since
1996 showing overpayments of federal subsidies, with the
latest analysis stating an overpayment of $935 million in
1998. The amount of overpayment is estimated by matching
incomes reported by a sample of 1,000 public and assisted
housing residents for rent certifications with their IRS and
Social Security records for the same period. HUD refutes the
accuracy of this figure and is instituting the tenant income
verification program to determine a more accurate assessment
of the problem. The estimated overpayment is for
discrepancies between HUD and IRS/SSA reported incomes
before the discrepancies are screened for false positives
(those discrepancies that occur for legitimate reasons) and
does not include overpayments by tenants. Both these factors
will reduce the amount of federal overpayments considerably.

Implementation of the first phase of the tenant income
verification program, in which 230,000 tenants will receive
notice of a discrepancy and be expected to determine the
reason for it, has been delayed while HUD and tenant
advocates negotiate to improve the process to avoid undue
panic and disruption among residents who have done nothing
wrong. This process is intended to identify the level of
false positives. HUD has agreed not to require PHAs or
property owners to seek repayment and will refer egregious
cases to the IG. HUD is now designing a second income
matching with all tenants to determine tenant overpayments,
and has agreed to work with NLIHC and partner organizations
for this phase as well.

The HUD Inspector General special agents both described
cases of fraud in housing programs that they had
investigated, indicating that prosecution is reserved for
cases with clear fraudulent intent. Of note was the theme of
employees of PHAs or property owners as the culprits in many
cases. Deputy Secretary Ramirez reported on the progress of
the tenant income verification program. Crowley cautioned
against using the IG report to jump to the conclusions that
poor people were ripping off the system and then justifying
funding cuts to housing programs. She further described the
extent of the affordable housing crisis, including in the
districts of the chairman and the ranking member, and the
need to expand funding for housing programs. Her testimony
can be found on the NLIHC website at
http://www.nlihc.org/news/52500crowley.htm.

The testimony and subsequent questions indicated that the
assertion of $935 million of waste, fraud and abuse in the
housing assistance had been negated. Mr. Sununu said that it
was important to recognize that the majority of tenants in
assisted housing are law-abiding citizens. The two special
agents testified that abuses of the kind they were
investigating were not new.

*** McKinney Block Granting Hearing

On May 23rd, Senator Allard, Chair of the Senate
Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, held a hearing
on block granting HUD McKinney Homeless Assistance Funds.
Those testifying against block granting said doing so would
institutionalize homelessness since states and cities would
receive funds simply based on a formula allocation without
accountability for performance outcomes focused on
preventing and ending homelessness.

Opponents also pointed out that block granting attempts to
'fix' something that isn't broken. Overall, the Continuum of
Care collaborative process works well, and continues to get
better every year. The measure would also add another layer
of bureaucracy, thus diverting additional funds to
administrative uses. The change would politicize homeless
funding, as local governments would take control of the
funds and use them for their pet initiatives. Finally, it
would make it harder to develop the long term permanent
housing homeless persons need because the pie will be
divided into yet smaller pieces, making it more difficult to
secure the long-term commitments needed to finance and build
permanent housing.

Advocates also pointed out that changing the distribution
mechanism is not what Congress should be focusing its
attention on. Rather, they need to be addressing the
systemic reasons for homelessness: lack of housing
affordable to the lowest income households; wages and fixed
incomes that are too low to afford basic necessities; and a
lack of access to needed health care and other mainstream
programs and resources for low-income persons.

Representatives of state housing finance agencies, state and
city community development associations argued for the block
grant, so use of the funds would be at the discretion of
states or cities. They also asked that the allowance for
administrative costs be doubled, all matches be allowed to
be non-cash matches, and the required match be reduced.
Senator Allard will propose to block grant McKinney funds,
along with other housing programs, in a discussion document
he said he will release by the end of the month. This was
the first in a set of hearings he will hold on these issues.
No bill is expected to be introduced in the near future.

*** At A Glance

HUD Appropriations
Status: The House Appropriations Committee's
VA-HUD-Independent Agencies Subcommittee marked up its FY01
HUD appropriations bill on May 23. No bill number will be
attached until it goes to the full committee.  See full
report elsewhere in Memo. The Senate VA-HUD-IA
Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on the FY2001 HUD
request on March 30 and has its mark-up tentatively
scheduled for June 15.

Bills: H.R. 175/S. 1017
Topic: Increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocation
to states from $1.25 to $1.75 per capita.
Status: H.R. 175 in the House Ways and Means Committee and
S. 1017 in the Senate Finance Committee. On March 9, the
House passed minimum wage and tax bills that include an
increase to the LIHTC from $1.25 to $1.65 and indexing it to
inflation. The President has included an increase to the tax
credit, and indexing it to inflation, in his FY01 budget
request. Language to increase the tax credit cap may also be
included in Community Renewal legislation being drafted (a
major piece of which is H.R. 815 sponsored by Representative
Watts (R-OK) and Talent (R-MO). The President and the
Speaker of the House announced an agreement on economic
development initiatives on May 22 includes an increase in
the LIHTC.

Bills: H.R. 425 / S. 1318
Topic: Federal Matching Grants for Housing Preservation
Status: H.R. 425 was amended and placed into H.R. 202 that
eventually passed the House in September 1999 by a vote of
405 to 5. Only pieces of H.R. 202 were enacted into law -
the preservation matching grant has yet to be enacted. Now,
advocates are seeking additional co-sponsors for S. 1318
with hopes to move that bill through the Senate in 2000.
And, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is drafting a bill to
include many of the remaining H.R. 202 pieces. Advocates are
working to ensure that S. 1318's matching grant is included
in Senator Santorum's new bill. Senate Housing and
Transportation Subcommittee Chair Wayne Allard (R-CO) has
indicated he will hold a hearing on the preservation
matching grant this summer.

Bill: H.R. 595 / S. 1553
Topic: FHA Foreclosure Prevention
Status: In House Banking and Financial Services Committee.
Advocates are seeking additional co-sponsors. Senate
version, S. 1553, has been introduced. Representatives from
the Philadelphia Unemployment Project testified in support
of including this bill into Representative Lazio's H.R. 1776
at a September 15, 1999 hearing.

Bills: H.R. 864/ S. 459
Topic: Increase the state private activity bond caps
Status: H.R. 864 in House Ways and Means Committee and S.
459 in the Senate Finance Committee. Among the provisions of
the tax bill that passed the House on March 9 (alongside a
minimum wage increase bill) is one to raise the private
activity bond cap.

Bill: H.R. 1073
Topic: Homeless Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act
Status: Hearing held and later voted out of House Housing
and Community Opportunity Subcommittee. Still in House
Banking and Financial Services Committee. There is no Senate
counterpart for this bill at this time but one is expected.
Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), Chair of the Senate Housing and
Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee,
is drafting a bill to block grant homeless programs and held
a hearing on homeless program consolidation on May 23. A
discussion draft of his bill is expected to be circulated by
the end of May, but there are no plans for introduction of
legislation at this point.

Bill: H.R. 1776
Topic: Homeownership Bill
Status: Passed the House, 417 - 8, on April 6, referred to
Senate on April 7.
Outlook: A scaled-back, similar bill, S. 1333, has been
introduced in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-OR) and only
addresses the "barriers to affordable homeownership" portion
of H.R. 1776.  A Senate bill on the manufactured housing
provisions, S. 1452, passed the Senate the week of May 8.
Generally, H.R. 1776 is a much-supported bi-partisan bill
but advocates are concerned about provisions that relax
income targeting guidelines.

Bill: H.R. 2400
Topic: Programmatic Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Status: In House Ways and Means Committee. It is likely that
these provisions, or some of them, will be included when
legislation to increase the LIHTC moves.

Bills: H.R. 2764, H.R. 2848 and S. 1565.
Topic: America's Private Investment Companies (APIC)
Status: APIC was funded, for the first time, in the FY2000
HUD budget. These funds will shift into APIC accounts as
soon as the authorizing legislation is passed. The House
Banking and Financial Services Committee passed a bill
establishing the APIC program on April 12. The House
HUD-VA-IA Appropriations Subcommitee failed to include funds
for APIC in its FY2001 bill, although the Speaker of the
House announced that it would be funded in a joint
appearance with the President.

Bill: H.R. 3081
Topic: Increases to Minimum Wage, LIHTC, Bonds
Status: Introduced October 14. Passed the House on March 9
as a two-year phase in of a $1 minimum wage increase with
many, many tax breaks, mostly for very wealthy people. The
Senate has passed a bankruptcy reform bill that includes a
three-year phase in of a $1 minimum wage increase. The
reconciliation process for these bills, and their various
tax provisions, has begun at a discussion level. It is
unclear how the process will proceed but many expect some
increase in the minimum wage this year. How big the
adjoining tax breaks will be and how long the phase in will
take are major questions to be resolved.

Bills: S. 192 (Senator Kennedy, D-MA) and H.R. 325
(Representative Bonior, D-MI)
Topic: Increase the minimum wage by $1 over two years
Status: Senator Kennedy will continue to seek movement on
this bill. Senators Kennedy and Daschle (D-SD) re-introduced
their minimum wage increase bill, S. 2284, the week of March
20.

Bill: H.R. 3613 (Representative John LaFalce, D-NY)
Topic: Authorizes HUD to use already appropriated Section 8
funds, on a one-year emergency basis, for grant renewals of
programs for permanent supportive housing and shelter plus
care for homeless persons.
Status: Although this bill was included in the House
supplemental spending bill for FY2000, supplemental spending
bills will not move any further this year.

Bills: H.R. 4250 / S. 2415
Topic: Predatory Lending
Representative John LaFalce (D-NY) and Senator Paul Sarbanes
(D-MD) introduced identical bills (HR 4250/S 2415) to combat
the growing problem of predatory lending. The bills would
extend the Home Owners Equity Protection Act of 1994 to
include predatory protections, by limiting the amount of
equity that can be lost by borrowed through unnecessary and
excessive fees. Other predatory lending bills have been
introduced by Representatives Bob Ney (R-OH, HR 4213) Jan
Schakowsky (D-IL, HR 3901), and Senator Charles Schumer
(D-NY, S 2405).


***** Field Notes

*** Minnesota

More than 70% of Minnesotans polled strongly favor or
somewhat favor more affordable housing in their communities,
and more than 80% responded that it was very or somewhat
important that housing in their community be available in a
variety of price ranges. For more information about the
poll, or about Housing Minnesota, which released the poll's
findings in early May, visit www.housingminnesota.org

*** California

The California Housing Law Project reports that "because of
a booming budget and a housing crisis that has reached the
middle class and caught the attention of business, and
because of the leadership of the Governor, Senate President
John Burton and Speaker Hertzberg, many members in both
houses and the indefatigable efforts of housing advocates
like you, we are on the verge of an agreement on $500-$850
million for housing in the state budget!" The Governor has
requested $500 million for housing, the Senate proposal is
at $650 million, and the Assembly budget calls for $750
million. The Senate and Assembly have also approved $50
million in state low income housing tax credits, and $50
million for teacher home loans. The bills now go to a
conference committee to have the differences worked out --
the Governor's budget emphasizes homeownership and the
Legislature's emphasizes rental, homeless and farmworker
housing. CHLP's website is www.housingadvocates.org.


***** PHRA/QHWRA Trainings For Public Housing Resident
Leaders and Advocates

HUD is holding a series of four training conferences for
public and assisted housing resident leaders and advocates
to learn PHRA changes and use them effectively. Full details
are below - please distribute widely.

NLIHC is administering HUD funds to cover a portion of
residents' travel expenses for these trainings, and is doing
outreach to ensure that as many resident leaders as possible
can attend. NLIHC members are encouraged to suggest names of
individuals and organizations NLIHC should contact to reach
residents. Send suggestions to Winton Pitcoff at
win@change.org, or call 202-662-1530 x223.


PHRA/QHWRA Trainings For Public Housing Resident Leaders and
Advocates

The far-reaching Public Housing Reform Act (PHRA) of 1998,
also known as QHWRA, touches virtually every aspect of
public housing - and HUD is now fully implementing these
changes. To help you learn PHRA changes and use them most
effectively in your PHA, HUD is sponsoring four training
conferences for public and assisted housing resident leaders
and advocates.

If you are a resident commissioner, resident advisory board
(RAB) member, resident council leader, resident management
corporation officer, leader in other resident organizations,
or advocate for public housing or Section 8 tenants, you
will not want to miss this important training opportunity.
Attendance is free, and resources are available to cover 85%
of residents' travel and hotel expenses. Space is limited
though, so early registration is advised.

Registration materials will be mailed soon. Call
1-800-876-2427 and check
http://www.hud.gov/pih/events/phra_training.html for updated
information as it becomes available for the most up-to-date
information on the conference. Hotel reservation information
is now available on the toll free number.

Travel scholarships are being administered by the National
Low Income Housing Coalition. You will be contacted within 3
working days after the receipt of your scholarship request
to let you know whether your request has been accepted.
Funds will not be provided in advance of the trainings.
Participants and their PHAs are responsible for making and
paying for their own travel arrangements, and will be
reimbursed after submitting receipts following the event.

Housing advocates are urged to get the word out to resident
leaders and make sure that resident leaders from your local
PHA participate in the training.

Four 2 day conferences

Dallas, TX
June 26-28 and June 28-30, 2000
Cut-off date for reservations: June 9

Kansas City, MO
July 17-19 and July 19-21, 2000
Cut-off date for reservations: June 30


***** Resources and Events

*** Resources

"Locked Out: California's Affordable Housing Crisis" offers
details on the challenges facing millions of Californians as
they struggle to find affordable homes in one of America's
tightest housing markets. Published by the California Budget
Project, the report is available at
http://www.cbp.org/press/pr00loc.html

*** Events

October 19-21, 2000, Los Angeles, CA. Beyond Shelter, Inc.,
in conjunction with the National Alliance to End
Homelessness and Shelter Partnership, presents "Housing
First: Ending and Preventing Family Homelessness." The
"Housing First" approach advocates for the immediate
relocation of homeless families into permanent housing,
followed by up to one year of home-based support after the
move to help families stabilize. 213/252-0772 ext. 222,
http://www.beyondshelter.org.

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) will hold its 2000
National Rural Housing Conference December 6-9 in
Washington, DC. Watch their website at www.ruralhome.org for
details as they become available.


***** Fact of the Week

Perceptions of Poverty

Percent of Americans who say a family of 4 needs at least
$25,000 to make ends meet: 92%
Percent of Americans who say a family of 4 needs at least
$35,000 to make ends meet: 69%
Federal poverty level for a family of four (2000): $ 17,050

Source: Bloomberg News, "Most say poverty line too low, poll
finds," 5/25/2000, at
http://www.boston.com:80/dailyglobe2/146/business/Most_say_poverty_line_too_low_
poll_findsP.shtml



***** Website of the Week

Housing Assistance Council
http://www.ruralhome.org/

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit
corporation created to increase the availability of decent
and affordable housing for low-income people in rural areas
throughout the United States. Established in 1971, HAC
provides many services for local, state, and national
organizations including loans, publications, technical
assistance, training, and special projects.

The HAC website includes regular legislative updates on
matters of importance to rural housing advocates, as well as
an extensive library of information sheets on a range of
subjects. There's also information about HAC's services and
special projects.


***** NLIHC Staff News

Join us in welcoming Jennifer Gilligan Twombly to the staff
of the National Low Income Housing Coalition as Research
Director. Jennifer will complete the requirements for a
doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University
when she defends her dissertation this summer. Her research
is on stability of racially integrated neighborhoods.
Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Jennifer was a
research assistant at the American Bar Association's Center
on Children and Law prior to her graduate studies. While at
GW, she was a research assistant at the Center for
Washington Area Studies, which focuses on social and
economic issues, including housing in the DC metro area.


***** Job Announcement

LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR. NLIHC is seeking an experienced
advocate with in-depth knowledge of federal housing policy
and the federal policy making process, and with
well-developed analytical and communication skills. Direct
experience with HUD and Capitol Hill preferred. Demonstrated
commitment to social justice required.

NLIHC offers competitive salaries, benefit package, and
collegial workplace. To apply for position, send cover
letter and vita to President, National Low Income Housing
Coalition, 1012 14th St. NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20005
or fax to 202-393-1973. Applications accepted until
positions are filled. EEO/AA.


*****

Tell Your Friends!

NLIHC Membership is the best way to stay informed about
affordable housing issues, keep in touch with advocates
around the country, and support NLIHC's work.

NLIHC Membership information is available on our website, at
www.nlihc.org, or by fax, mail, or e-mail. Just e-mail us at
info@nlihc.org or call 202-662-1530 to request membership
materials to distribute at meetings and conferences.

*****

About NLIHC: Established in 1974, the National Low Income
Housing Coalition/LIHIS is the only national organization
dedicated solely to ending America's affordable housing
crisis. The NLIHC is committed to educating, organizing, and
advocating to ensure decent, affordable housing within
healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides
up-to-date information, formulates policy, and educates the
public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.

National Low Income Housing Coalition
Memo to Members
May 26, 2000
Vol. 5, No. 21