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President’s Forum: Effective Advocacy with Congress

Please Visit Their Offices or Welcome Lawmakers to Your Agency

PHADA President Mark Gillett.

This edition of the Advocate includes information about the House of Representatives’ FY 24 HUD appropriations bill. Please review that important material. After doing so, I think you will agree that, if ever there is a time for effective advocacy with our Representatives and Senators, now is that time.

Many of you plan to attend PHADA’s always timely Legislative Forum in mid-September. We expect to hear from, and interact with, key leaders at HUD, Members of Congress, congressional staff, and other policymakers.

September is an opportune time to go to Capitol Hill and meet directly with your Representatives and Senators to advocate for HUD appropriations and other legislative matters. To help members plan for those meetings, PHADA will conduct an August 9 webinar on some major topics including the HUD spending bill. The session will also focus on how to set up meetings with Congress, as well as some key messaging points and content.

We will also provide material and resources you can draw on for Capitol Hill meetings. More details and registration information are included below.


A Good Advocacy Resource

A few years ago, PHADA and NAHRO collaborated with HAI Group to develop a useful advocacy guidebook. I encourage you to review the publication, which you can access here. Page 51 includes a brief step-by-step outline on how to set up DC meetings along with some other useful tips.

We also recommend arranging meetings with Representatives and Senators at home. Earlier this year, I was pleased to host Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) in Oklahoma City. Rep. Cole is the new Chairman of the HUD appropriations subcommittee and he wanted to learn more about the services we provide.

He toured the agency’s Classen Senior Center food pantry and visited a resident’s home to learn more about her experiences. In addition, he met with staff to learn more about national and local programs designed to enhance public housing. It was by far the best meeting I have had with a Member of Congress. He was engaged, wanted to learn, and asked great questions.

I know some of you have welcomed your Representatives and Senators at your agencies and I encourage more to do the same. There are more than eighty new lawmakers in the current Congress, and we should do all we can to educate them about local housing programs and the low-income families we serve. Because Congress is not in session, the month of August is also a good time to attend town hall meetings your elected officials may be hosting in their districts.

PHADA can assist by providing information and materials to share with elected officials. Elsewhere in this publication is a letter we just sent to Senate appropriators on our budget priorities. You can also find our comprehensive FY 24 budget recommendations at: https://bit.ly/3Dmrnxn. We will also have an updated position paper ready for the September meeting.


Thank You, Lindsey Reames and Michigan HAs

Lindsey Reames, Grand Rapids Housing Commission.

I want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of one of PHADA’s Trustees, Lindsey Reames. Among other things, we ask our Trustees to be “ambassadors” for the organization and encourage their colleagues to consider joining us to make the organization even stronger.

Lindsey went above and beyond the call of duty, reaching out to recruit Michigan colleagues. We appreciated her efforts and thank the new PHADA members listed below.

  • Baldwin Housing Commission, MI (Sylvia Calas).
  • Middleville Housing Commission, MI (Martha Reyff-Bamash).
  • Traverse City Housing Commission, MI (Tony Lentych).
  • Boyne City Housing Commissioner, MI (Bethany Hedgepath).

Join PHADA Today. Link to online application.