Each year, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and its state partners organize a”Our Homes, Our Voices” national week of action oriented towards ensuring the creation, preservation, and quality of low-income housing throughout the United States. This year’s week of action is May 30th through June 5th.
In Vermont, we kicked off the action with Northgate Resident Ownership Corporation, one of VAHC’s members, as they celebrated 30 years of perpetual affordability. As the week of action celebrates and pushes for federal funding for affordable housing, Northgate’s anniversary party was a perfect reminder of how collaboration at the local, state, and federal levels can lead to thriving housing communities that are affordable to all. The event was well-attended, with dozens of families from the community joining representatives from local and state offices to commemorate the day.
“I remember well the effort to gain resident control of Northgate, and I was especially impressed by the ambition and dedication of those involved,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in a statement. “Because the residents proved they could reach their goals and successfully manage their own housing, we were able to secure federal funding to help preserve this community. Thirty years later, Northgate serves as a national model, and as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee I will continue to protect the federal programs that help keep housing perpetually affordable and within reach of community members.”
“What makes the Northgate story so compelling is that the residents made the case for preserving the affordable housing. The residents stood up and said: these are our homes and this is our neighborhood. I have long believed that real change happens when ordinary people organize – and at the end of the day, that is exactly what happened at Northgate,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a statement. “As Mayor, I was honored to support those efforts not just to preserve the housing for the residents who lived there, but also, to make sure it stayed affordable in perpetuity.”
“Northgate has provided a home for people who are actively engaged in their community and provides them an opportunity to make a change, to work on developing and improving a sustainably affordable living option,” said one of the residents. “I am happy to call Northgate home; it has provided me with an opportunity for development and growth which I never anticipated.”
We need more national, state, and local collaboration to ensure that communities like Northgate can thrive – and the federal funding to make sure this collaboration can happen. As the cost of housing continues to outpace wages, the need for affordable housing clearer now than ever before. Take a look at the Our Homes, Our Voices website to see what kind of events are happening throughout the country.
NLIHC puts it best: “With the growing affordability challenges occurring in many American cities coupled with the existing shortage of affordable homes for the most economically vulnerable community members that impacts every community in the United States, we must expand not reduce federal funding for proven HUD and USDA programs.”
“Northgate Apartments celebrate 30 years of resident ownership, affordability,” My Champlain Valley