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Grassroots Advocacy Opportunities for August

At this time, both the Senate and House of Representatives have begun a month long district work period known as the August Recess. During this time, the members of Congress will focus on local issues in their districts and states.

We encourage all members to invite their Senators and Representatives to visit one of your properties during the month of August. A site visit with a member of Congress not only informs them of the positive community enrichment accomplished by affordable housing; it allows you the opportunity to discuss the funding and regulatory issues that you face every day as an owner or manager of affordable housing. To enhance your message, introduce your representative to tenants who rely on affordable housing services and involve your staff as well so that the representative can see the job creation caused by housing programs. These actions will show your member of Congress the essential need to fund these programs.

To initiate the property visit, call the Member’s Washington DC or district office and ask to speak with his or her scheduler. Procedures for arranging a site visit may vary by office, so ask the scheduler the desired format for a meeting request. While arranging this visit, you can also see if your representative will be conducting town hall meetings or if there is an opportunity to visit the district office.  Send the scheduler an email with your contact information and complete the required meeting request document, which could be a formal invitation document or an electronic request form.

During the representative’s visit, we ask that members highlight specific affordable housing issues and discuss your legislative and policy concerns. NAHMA’s new Grassroots Advocacy Toolkits contain numerous policy papers and resources that can assist you. The following topics are of urgent importance to NHAMA and the toolkits cover them in depth:

· Protecting affordable housing programs from the devastating impact of sequestration;

· Ensuring the full funding and timely payment of project-based Section 8 contracts;

· Restoring cuts to Rural Rental Assistance that will result in non-payment of subsidy contracts in September 2013;

· Ensuring strong budgets for all Federal multifamily housing programs in FY 2014;

· Passing comprehensive, pragmatic rental assistance reform legislation; and

· Protecting and enhancing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) in tax reform efforts

NAHMA can help you prepare for your property site visits, and we can provide you with more policy information that will streamline your advocacy efforts. The new NAHMA Maps can assist you in finding and contacting your representatives, and we suggest that members use this tool to draw attention to the number of affordable housing properties in your state/district. Please contact Scott McMillen at scott.mcmillen@nahma.org with any specific questions or concerns.

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