For many of us, making your bed on a Monday morning and heading off to work can feel like quite the taxing chore.
When you think about the 500,000 individuals who face homelessness on any given night, you might start to reconsider that chore as a privilege.
There is a record-breaking number of low-income families that cannot afford a place to live, let alone qualify for a low-income housing unit. It may be shocking to learn only 1 in 4 extremely low-income families who need assistance will receive it.
With this national crisis intensifying every year, you may wonder what can be done to ensure every family has a decent place to call home.
What is the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)?
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to ensuring people with the lowest incomes in the U.S. have decent, affordable homes.
To carry out this mission, the NLIHC seeks to preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expand the supply of low-income housing, and establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low-income housing policy.
From its inception, the NLIHC has set out to address fair access to affordable housing for all.
Cushing N. Dolbeare launched the Ad Hoc Low Income Housing Coalition in 1974 as a response to the Nixon administration’s moratorium around federal housing programs. This group primarily concentrated on federal advocacy, which led other members to recognize a need to focus on education, technical assistant, and grassroots efforts.
As a result, this group established the Low Income Housing Information Service (LIHIS) in 1975 to provide information on those topics. LIHIS later made a huge impact as it launched a significant advocacy initiative in 1992 after the devolution of many federal programs.
Both groups operated together, but independently grew and strengthened in both numbers and efforts. In 1997, they decided to officially merge the two organizations as one 501(c)(3) membership-based nonprofit, under one board of directors.
The NLIHC has been a leader in addressing the housing needs of low-income families ever since. Aside from advocating for public education, they prioritize research, policy, analysis, and organized grassroots efforts to meet goals and create change.
In order to achieve socially just public policy, the NLIHC has three core mission statements:
- To preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources.
- To expand the supply of low-income housing.
- To establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low-income housing policy.
There are many ways to get educated, get involved, and support each area of focus, including but not limited to initiatives such as:
1. Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action
Our Homes, Our Voices represents a movement where thousands will make their voices heard to help revitalize distressed communities and ensure that programs that provide aid to resources that house low-income people continue to exist and receive government support.
2. Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition
The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition brings 850 national, state, and local organizations together to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all impacted households when a crisis occurs.
Over the years, this coalition has touched lives in many communities devastated by natural disasters. Its priority is to provide resources and safe, accessible, and affordable housing for these communities as they get back on their feet.
Impact and Future Plans
Data shows that the need for an organization such as the National Low Income Housing Coalition is significant.
According to the Census Bureau, 46.7 million Americans were in poverty in 2015 compared to 46.3 million in 2013. It is also found that high-income households receive four times more housing benefits than low-income households. Additionally, federal housing expenditures poorly correlate with housing needs.
There is a lot to work on, which is why NLIHC differentiates itself from other organizations by focusing solely on the needs of extremely low-income families.
A 2016 report from NLIHC finds that there is “a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental units for America’s 10.4 million extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, those in the bottom 30% of income in their communities.”
The different teams work together to study trends and analyze data to show how much need there is for low-income housing. They educate lawmakers, create support for low-income housing and shape public opinion.
NLIHC now has hundreds of members across the United States and is well-respected in Washington, D.C. due to its thorough research and policy analysis, changing millions of people’s lives.
How To Donate
To learn how to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to NLIHC, visit their fundraising page.
- First, sign up for a Giving Assistant account.
- Select the National Low Income Housing Coalition on your Giving Assistant account settings menu.
- Choose how much of your balance from cash-back rewards you’d like to donate.
- The next time you shop using Giving Assistant and earn cash back you’ll automatically donate your set percentage to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Giving Assistant members interested in donating to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) can choose just a portion (or all!) of their cash back earnings to go to NLIHC.
If you need more help then you can see how to use Giving Assistant to shop online and donate to a nonprofit here – how Giving Assistant works here.
If you haven’t already you can also download the Giving Assistant button cash back extension for your desktop browser.
This will help you to start easily support the NLIHC and save money on your everyday online purchases at thousands of online retailers.
Not a member yet? Sign up here to start supporting NLIHC as you shop online.
If you’d like to learn more about the National Low Income Housing Coalition and what they are achieving; visit NLIHC.