Leading the way to Build Louder Together
Advocacy Ambassadors monthly update: August 2015
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Habitat representatives meet with Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC1) during August Recess. From left to right: Rep. Mark Sanford; Bryant Knepp, Executive Director of Berkeley County Habitat; John Rhoden, Executive Director of Sea Island Habitat; Greg Thomas, Executive Director of South Carolina SSO; and Bob Hervey, Executive Director of East Cooper Habitat.
Making the most of August Recess
Habitat affiliates in South Carolina are not taking a recess this August. In response to the proposed severe funding cuts to National Service and HOME, Executive Directors from the Charleston-area affiliates and the South Carolina State Support Organization (SSO) teamed up to take advantage of Congress' August Recess to meet with their Members of Congress. Earlier this month, the group met with U.S. Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC1) to talk with Representative Sanford about long-term benefits of National Service and HOME and, consistent with Habitat's national stance, asked him to support level funding for these crucial programs.

On the heels of that meeting, the multi-affiliate and SSO team talked with the staff of their U.S. Senators as well. These face-to-face meetings with lawmakers in their home districts allowed the Habitat team to make the compelling argument for the value of HOME and National Service, to nonprofit organizations like Habitat (using this op-ed as one example), the community at-large, and U.S. taxpayers. 

As often is the case with advocacy, the meeting also brought about unanticipated benefits. During their conversations, the team learned that while their lawmakers support Habitat's mission, they may not understand all of the challenges we face in realizing that mission. For example, a misimpression about the cost of building a Habitat home came to light and, in clarifying, the Habitat team was able to help deepen understanding of housing affordability as an issue more generally. 

Three cheers to these advocacy superstars in South Carolina for:

1)  Seizing the opportunity to meet in-person with lawmakers on important housing issues, particularly when key programs are on the line.
2)  Cross-affiliate and SSO cooperation; when it comes to unified voices, more is more!
3)  Turning misimpressions (including among those friendly to Habitat) into an opportunity to better understand the need for decent, affordable housing.  
What does Habitat III have to do with me?

Habitat III, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, may seem like just another distant UN event, but in reality the conference has huge implications for local governments and civil society around the world. This Citiscope article explains the role of local authorities in implementing the "New Urban Agenda," the outcome document of Habitat III. 
#LightTheWay to Sustainable Development

On September 24, 2015, the evening before leaders meet in New York at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), citizens around the world will come together to #LightTheWay and call on leaders to turn the Goals from words on paper into real change. At the UNGA, world leaders must make bold commitments to implement the Goals. It’s then up to us to make sure that leaders keep their promises. If you are interested in mobilizing supporters to participate in the #LightTheWay event, or simply want to add a few posts to your social media on this global happening, see this UNGA mobilization toolkit created by the UNGA Global Action team. 
Celebrate Voter Registration Day

"We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate." -Thomas Jefferson

Nonprofit VOTE is partnering with organizations across the country to celebrate National Voter Registration Day on September 22nd. For information about how to join the celebration – and ensure that people in your area (including Habitat partner families!) are registered to vote – see these resources from a Nonprofit VOTE webinar hosted earlier this month. 
Voices for National Service Capitol Hill Day

On September 15th and 17th, Voices for National Service will host lobby days on Capitol Hill. In the wake of the proposed 33% funding cut to the Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, meeting with members of members of Congress to communicate the value of National Service is especially crucial. Register here if you’d like to join the Voices Capitol Hill day and let us know if you’ll be in DC. For more background information see the May mobilization collection and the August toolkit on My.Habitat. 
Stat of the Month

Number of powerful op-eds published this month in the Miami Herald by Habitat Executive Directors: 1
Final Post-2015 Development Agenda
Earlier this month, after a three-year consultative process that included input from governments, civil society, and citizens, all 193 UN member states agreed to a final Post-2015 development agenda, also called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The final agenda includes 17 goals and 169 targets, a considerable increase from the 8 goals and 21 targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Housing was left out of the MDGs, but, thanks in large part to Habitat's advocacy efforts, housing appears in the new agenda. Goal 11 states: 

11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums.

The new agenda will be adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 25 - 27. We’ll be in touch before then with an op-ed about Goal 11 that our CEO, Jonathan Reckford, is currently writing.

On Tuesday, September 25th from 2:00 - 3:00 pm Eastern Time, the National Community Land Trust Network and Cornerstone Partnership are hosting a webinar on the state and local legal considerations for inclusionary housing policies. The presenters will review the recent California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose decision and its implications for inclusionary housing policies. Register here.
Housing in the News

Look out for the Friday edition of HFHI's In the Daily Media Update, which now features a "Housing in the News" section, including articles that highlight housing issues around the U.S. and globally. Here are a few recent affordable housing articles from around the United States:
Tip of the Month
Use #BuildLouder (or, even better @BuildLouder) on social media when you are posting about something advocacy-related.  It makes it much easier for us to find and RT you.
The Advocacy Ambassador program is designed to provide timely information, tools, and tips on how to end poverty housing by advocating for smart housing policy - both on an ongoing basis and when urgent action is needed.
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