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Habitat for Humanity advocates travel to Capitol Hill to champion affordable housing programs and policies

WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2014) – More than 250 Habitat for Humanity leaders and supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., today to urge lawmakers to support programs and policies that help Habitat address the issue of poverty housing.

Prior to traveling to Capitol Hill, Habitat supporters attended Habitat on the Hill, the organization’s annual legislative conference, to learn from leading experts how to maximize their impact as effective advocates and users of government resources for affordable housing. Attendees discussed Habitat’s policy priorities, such as investing in resilient communities through programs like the Self-Help Homeownership Program and the Corporation for National and Community Service, whose AmeriCorps and VISTA programs provide an estimated 1.6 million volunteer hours to Habitat affiliates every year. Housing finance reform and expanding access to energy efficiency resources are also top priorities as the latter aids Habitat in building energy-efficient homes and weatherizing older residences, improving low-income families’ financial and physical health.

From left, HFHI CEO Jonathan Reckford, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and HFHI board president Renee Glover discuss the state of affordable housing during a special presentation at this year’s Habitat on the Hill.

Habitat for Humanity is urging all supporters to go online and tell their senators to help families stay warm and reduce energy costs. This virtual petition calls on key decision-makers to commit to recognizing the 30 million low-income families who struggle to heat their homes and pass the Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act (SB.1213).

“The opportunity to gather for three days in Washington, D.C., to focus on affordable housing and the impact that programs such as SHOP, HOME, the Weatherization Assistance Program, AmeriCorps and Community Development Block Grants have on Habitat’s ability to serve families nationwide is essential,” said Liz Blake, senior vice president of advocacy, government affairs and general counsel at Habitat for Humanity International. “With the future of funding so uncertain, we must meet with our representatives and be the voice of Habitat on policy issues that are critical to the communities we serve.”

Speakers at the conference included Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Linda Kaufman, national field organizer for Community Solutions’ 100,000 Homes Campaign; Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report; and Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

To learn more about Habitat on the Hill or for more information on Habitat for Humanity’s advocacy program, please visit www.habitat.org/gov.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer visit habitat.org.