Highlights of Habitat on the Hill -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Highlights of Habitat on the Hill

By Colleen Fitzgerald

In June, more than 130 representatives from Habitat affiliates in the United States traveled to Washington, D.C., for the second annual Habitat on the Hill conference. Hosted by HFHI’s Government Relations and Advocacy team, the conference introduced Habitat’s worldwide advocacy efforts to affiliates as they start or continue their own efforts to keep housing high on the national agenda.

At the three-day conference, participants heard motivational presentations from several industry professionals, including: Leslie Crutchfield, co-author of the best-selling book “Forces for Good,” and Mark Shriver, vice president and managing director of U.S. programs for Save the Children.

Attendees also participated in sessions covering topics such as secure tenure, national housing trust funds, communication strategies, advocacy planning and lobby law. On one day of the conference, participants joined Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford on the Hill to meet with legislators and their staff members to talk about the importance of a national housing trust fund. Some 350 meetings took place in a single afternoon. The effort did not go unnoticed, given the defeat of Senate amendments to HR 3221 that would have eliminated the housing trust fund from the legislative package.

In his closing remarks, Save the Children’s Shriver reminded the group that it only takes one person to start a movement that can reach thousands. It’s a powerful message and one that participants can take to their affiliates as they bring the concept of advocacy home.

Colleen Fitzgerald (CFitzgerald@habitat.org) is associate director of grassroots advocacy for Habitat for Humanity International.