ReFrame Goes To Washington
We hosted our first advocacy event on March 28 & 29. Nine members of ReFrame Association participated in meetings with housing-related nonprofits, federal agencies, elected officials, and their staffs. The goal of the trip was to share stories about how home repairs change the lives of those living in substandard conditions, and to learn more about and advocate for home repair funds. One participant said, “In the lobbying alone, one can see the tremendous impact ReFrame will have in the years to come.”
Left to right: Brian Smith (U.M. ARMY), Don Taylor (Chesapeake Housing Mission), Jay Clark (Carolina Rebuilding Ministry), Becca Davis (ReFrame Association), Lance George (Housing Assistance Council), Joe Huggins (Home Works of America).
We kicked off the event at a lunch meeting with nearly 20 staff from Housing Assistance Council. It was an open discussion about funding sources for home repairs, the challenges our organizations are facing, and opportunities for collaboration. Lance George, Director of Research and Information at HAC, is a member of the ReFrame Advocacy Task Force; we really appreciated that he organized this brown bag lunch & learn for us!
Left to right: Curtis Anderson (USDA), Walter Crouch (Appalachia Service Project), Jim Garrett (Kentucky Emergency Management)
Next, we met with Curtis Anderson, the Chief of Staff of Rural Housing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We discussed the Section 504 Home Repair program and how we might advocate for more of the funds to be grants instead of loans, and for funding to go to nonprofits instead of homeowners (much like how HUD’s CDBG funds are distributed). We also talked about how the key to rural housing is healthcare.