Habitat on the Hill draws affiliate leaders
to the U.S. Capitol

Scott Engmann (left), executive director of Black Hills Area Habitat in Rapid City, South Dakota, meets Sen. John Thune of South Dakota during Habitat on the Hill 2014.

During the annual Habitat on the Hill legislative conference in February, 260 Habitat affiliate leaders convened on Capitol Hill to advocate for affordable housing. Conference participants engaged their political representatives in discussions on Habitat’s policy priorities, including the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program, National Service’s AmeriCorps program and weatherization initiatives. 
 
Now in its eighth year, the conference included visits to more than 300 Congressional offices and discussions with federal agencies. Attendees widely reported that lawmakers were receptive to Habitat delegations and supportive of Habitat’s work — welcome news as Habitat plans its first-ever advocacy campaign to launch later this year. For that campaign to be a success, Habitat supporters must — in the words of Mark Andrews, Habitat’s vice president of volunteer and institutional engagement — “plant ourselves firmly at the intersection of discontent and hope.”
 
Habitat on the Hill is one important way for Habitat staff and volunteers to channel that hope and discontent, as they urge lawmakers to support those policies that matter most to affordable housing and to the families in urgent need of it.
 
Convening on Capitol Hill once a year is vital, but it isn’t enough, says Christopher Ptomey, Habitat’s director of federal relations.  So what more can we do? We can build louder — through advocacy. When 10 voices, or hundreds of voices or thousands of voices come together for a common cause, people notice and change happens.
 
Consider how your voice can help break down barriers to adequate housing. 
  • Watch Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford, Habitat Board President Renee Glover and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan discuss housing.
  • Learn more about Habitat’s advocacy efforts.
  • Read how Habitat on the Hill measures success.
  • Hear from one participant in this year’s conference.