ADVOCACY FOR HOUSING JUSTICE

The incorporation of LIHI was a direct result of community activism, and LIHI continues to pursue a strong role in advocating for affordable housing. LIHI partners with other community members and maintains communication with legislators, the media and the general public to create awareness of housing issues and to build resources and investments that will influence public policy. Community education activities are often part of LIHI’s advocacy efforts as we work to confront and dispel fear, ignorance and prejudice that may arise from the siting of affordable housing in some neighborhoods and communities. LIHI conducts numerous community notification efforts as part of our effort to develop new housing.

Additional advocacy activities focus on providing legislative testimony and ongoing communication with local, state and national legislators regarding affordable housing issues. LIHI also sponsors special events to create awareness and support, identify resources, and impact public policy. LIHI fully embraces advocacy within its organizational mission, dedicates funding to support advocacy work, and serves as a voice for tenants, interested community members and other non-profit organizations.

Within our advocacy role, LIHI researches and identifies barriers to safe, decent, and affordable housing for low and very low-income households. We propose public and private initiatives intended to eliminate those barriers and advocate for just housing policies on the local, state, and national levels. LIHI also evaluates the effectiveness of present government/private programs for low-income households and promotes those policies and programs that address their needs most successfully.

Housing Washington. This statewide newsletter is published and distributed by LIHI. It focuses on current policy and activities in the affordable housing arena. Housing Washington is distributed to over 5000 organizations and individuals each quarter and has been consistently well received.

Mobile Home Park Preservation. LIHI has been a strong advocate for the preservation of at-risk mobile home parks. We have provided legislative advocacy, community organizing, and technical assistance to help low- and moderate-income families and seniors in preserving their homes. LIHI has assisted resident organizations with exercising their first-right-of-refusal to purchase their parks under state law. This has resulted in considerable benefits to homeowners in terms of relocation assistance and other help. One of the major obstacles to overcome in preserving mobile home parks in the lack of financing to purchase the parks. LIHI works at the State level to advocate for funding for a park purchase fund, and for additional funding to the State Housing Trust Fund to help low-income homeowners residing in mobile home parks.

Section 8 Housing Preservation. Since 1991, we have played a key role in advocating for the preservation of Section 8 housing. Currently, organizations such as the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Tenants Union have increased significantly their work on preserving Section 8 housing. LIHI now targets our efforts on promoting new funding initiatives to save Section 8 housing and providing direct technical assistance to save at-risk projects.