Habitat on the Hill 2020: We’ve Only Just Begun

Two Habitat LA employees smiling for a photo with Congresswoman Nanette Barragan.

Dawkins Hodges (Vice President of Programs, left) and Dinesa Thomas-Whitman (Director of Outreach, Advocacy, and Policy, right) with Congresswoman Nanette Barragán.

On February 10-13, 2020, Habitat LA team members Dawkins Hodges (Vice President of Programs), Dinesa Thomas-Whitman (Director of Outreach, Advocacy, and Policy) and Patrick Sunpanich (Real Estate Project Manager) flew to Washington, D.C. for the 15th annual Habitat on the Hill, Habitat for Humanity International’s annual legislative conference. More than 350 Habitat homeowners, staff members, volunteers and supporters from around the country united in our nation’s capital to advocate for safe and affordable housing.

The three-day conference featured national and local experts who shared how to effectively advocate for local housing solutions and a rally outside the U.S. Capitol. Our team also met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, Congressman Tony Cárdenas, and Congressman Alan Lowenthal, to discuss the importance of home affordability and encourage them to support favorable housing policies and programs. On the last day, Habitat’s first-ever housing policy symposium took place at the National Press Club, where key partners discussed how state and local policy action can inform the dialogue around federal solutions for home affordability.

“There is power in our collective voice and it was evident from the warm reception we all received on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress understand that we are in the midst of a housing crisis and affordable homeownership is an important part of the solution.” shared Dinesa Thomas-Whitman, Habitat LA’s Director of Outreach, Advocacy, and Policy on her experience at Habitat on the Hill 2020.

“Meeting with our congressional leaders was a phenomenal experience. In the Capitol we are so respected and have such sterling reputation that when we speak people listen. I’m excited about the growth and opportunity that lies ahead of us!” shared Patrick Sunpanich, Habitat LA’s Real Estate Project Manager.

Participants from Advocacy Day 2020 pose for a group photo in from of the Capitol Building.

Participants from Advocacy Day 2020 pose for a group photo.

In addition to Habitat on the Hill 2020, a few of our Habitat LA staff members joined colleagues from Habitat affiliates throughout California at Habitat for Humanity California’s Advocacy Day 2020 in Sacramento on February 2-3, 2020. Our team met with 26 state legislators who represent our service area to advocate for policymakers to champion solutions that advance homeownership opportunities for lower-income households, promote access to a range of safe, healthy, and affordable housing, encourage equitable land use, and cultivate healthy and vibrant communities of opportunity.

We invite YOU to join us as we advocate for home affordability. Help us urge the support of the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA) that addresses affordable housing needs nationwide.

Take these actions now to amplify our message on Capitol Hill:

  • Email your policymakers: Personalize an email to ask your members of Congress to support NHIA.
  • Get social: Click to tweet at your members of Congress saying you support developing communities of opportunity.

The more voices involved, the stronger our call to address the need for home affordability will be. Let’s make the #CostOfHome something we all can afford.

The California Delegation posing for a group photo with signs in front of the Capitol Building.

The California Delegation at Habitat on the Hill 2020.