Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga joined hundreds of affiliate organizations and home affordability advocates last week for Habitat for Humanity’s annual legislative conference, held virtually for the first time: Habitat on the Hill 2021: For home, from home.
The three-day event, normally held in Washington, D.C., provided advocates an opportunity to speak with congressional leaders and discuss actionable solutions to the rally with one another. Habitat’s Cost of Home advocacy campaign deepens their role in addressing home affordability challenges that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19. Habitat on the Hill meetings focused heavily on historic and systemic racism in housing policy and how the pandemic’s economic disparities have created a critical need for immediate and long-term housing relief.
“In some way, 2020 has impacted us all,” said David Butler, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. “However, the past year was particularly hard for many Americans who were already struggling with a growing housing crisis amidst a global pandemic. The conversations we had with Senator Blackburn and Senator Hagerty’s staff along with Rep. Fleischmann last week were extremely encouraging. We hope these conversations will lead to changes throughout our community and nation.”
The federal legislators were encouraged to invest in housing affordability as part of any future economic recovery and infrastructure measure by prioritizing foreclosure prevention, neighborhood revitalization and housing production for low-income homeowners. These investments are critical for preventing major losses in homeownership and in wealth for communities of color, as well as expanding access to new affordable homes for all.
“We appreciated the productive conversations we had with Senator Blackburn’s and Senator Hagerty’s staff and especially with Rep. Fleischmann,” said Mr. Butler. “They listened to our concerns and offered constructive feedback that we believe will lead to additional conversations and actions to support our efforts.”
Rep. Fleischmann said, “Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga makes such a positive impact not only in our community but also on our local economy. Habitat homeowners hold jobs and pay property taxes. Through the Habitat process, they learn that the stability of homeownership changes the trajectory of their family for the future. Chattanooga is fortunate to have such an active affiliate here and I look forward to continuing to assist them in their efforts.”
Each year, Habitat on the Hill is made possible by the support of Habitat for Humanity’s partners. The Home Depot Foundation returned as this year’s premier sponsor and has sponsored the event for the last five years. The foundation has donated more than $4.7 million to Habitat for Humanity International, including this year’s contribution of $2 million to assist in building, repairing or rehabilitating veterans’ homes. To date, the Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $350 million in support of veterans in need.
Habitat’s Cost of Home campaign works to create policies that will allow at least 10 million American families to have access to a stable, affordable place to call home. Follow Habitat for Humanity of Chattanooga to learn more about the effort.