Senate Holds Hearing on Technology for Seniors Living Independently

On May 6, the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing called “Aging in Place: Can Advances in Technology Help Seniors Live Independently?”

Both the increasing number of seniors (there are an estimated 46.3 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States) and their longer life spans (the Society of Actuaries estimates the life expectancy of a 65-year-old woman to be 88 and that of a 65-year-old man to be 86), making technology available for seniors will become a priority for society at many levels. Housing professionals should expect to see new products and initiatives in support of seniors’ ability to live independently, similar to those presented at the hearing.

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Advocacy in Action: Members Making a Difference

Last summer, we launched a Twitter campaign called #WHAAT Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, we ask housing authorities across the country to use the hashtag #WHAAT to share ‘What Housing Authorities Accomplished Today’ on Twitter with their local leaders and members of Congress. Momentum for #WHAAT Wednesday continues to build.

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You Did It- Congress Approves FY 2015 Spending Bill

Thanks to your hard work, Congress approved a spending package last weekend that will provide responsible funding levels for housing and community development programs in the remainder of FY 2015. President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday evening and the Senate has adjourned concluding the work of the 113th Congress. The Senate also approved the House-approved one-year extension of the tax extenders bill.

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House Approves Spending Bill, Two Day CR

After a tense day in Washington and a narrowly-passed procedural vote, the House approved by 219-206 a $1.13 trillion spending deal that includes funding for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The vote came late on Thursday night, just hours before a government shutdown was to be triggered. The bill, along with a two-day continuing resolution, now goes to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure soon.

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Lame Duck Update: Setbacks with LIHTC, Slow Progress with Spending

Congress returned to Washington this week after the Thanksgiving holiday with an ambitious agenda to complete before the end of the year, including the passage of a tax extenders package and a spending bill.

Progress was made this week on a tax extenders package; the House on Wednesday passed by 378-46 a one-year, retroactive bill to extend expired credits through the end of 2014. Though the bill includes the 9 percent fixed rate Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), it is essentially useless to LIHTC stakeholders because LIHTC must be applied to future affordable housing developments and the bill expires at the end of 2014.

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NAHRO Members: Share Stories about How the LIHTC Rates Helps Create Housing and Jobs!

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, NAHRO is asking members to pitch their Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) success stories to local media outlets as a part of our national push to educate members of Congress about why LIHTCs are beneficial and important to their home districts.

The fixed rate 4 percent and 9 percent rates expired at the end of the 2013 calendar year and have not been renewed. There are two legislative options to fix this problem: temporarily extending the credits or permanently authorizing them. NAHRO supports a temporary extension to allow communities to access these critical credits as quickly as possible, but hopes that Congress will approve the permanent authorization to avoid another lapse if a temporary fix is allowed to expire again.

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Action Alert: Contact your Members of Congress on Twitter

Today, we need all NAHRO members to contact their members of Congress on Twitter to urge them to pass an omnibus spending package that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill at Senate levels.

Feel free to directly copy this sample tweet or craft your own using hashtag #FundHousingNow. Be sure to mention your members of Congress in your tweets. Find their Twitter handles here (Excel document downloads automatically).

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HUD Nominee Advanced by Senate Banking Committee

In a voice vote today, the Senate Banking Committee moved forward the nomination of Lourdes Castro Ramírez to be HUD’s Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing. She now advances for the consideration of the entire Senate, a process which may be delayed by the hold that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said he intends to place on her nomination.

Castro Ramírez, a member of NAHRO’s Board of Governors, is currently the CEO of the San Antonio (Tex.) Housing Authority.

Take Action Today: Call Your Legislators

We need all NAHRO members to call Congress  today, Tuesday, November 18, to ask lawmakers to push for an FY 2015 full-year omnibus spending package that funds the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill at Senate levels.

To participate, visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for step-by-step instructions on how to contact your member of Congress and talking points.

Or, follow these simple directions:

  • To find your Representative’s number, go to www.house.gov.
  • To find your Senators’ numbers, go to www.senate.gov.
  • Ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant who handles appropriations.
  • Identify yourself, your organization, and your location.
  • Let him/her know that your organization depends on the certainty of full-year funding and that the House’s FY 2015 T-HUD bill does not provide adequate funding for programs upon which your community relies. Ask that your legislator to push for an omnibus spending package that funds T-HUD at Senate levels.
  • Thank the staff person for their consideration and time.

Once you’ve called your three legislators, email Tess Hembree (thembree@nahro.org) to let her know how your conversations went.

Don’t forget – tomorrow is the omnibus write-in day. Visit the NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send pre-drafted letters to your members of Congress.

Thank you so much for your participation. Without your support for an omnibus that includes T-HUD, it’s possible that FY 2015 may be funded entirely by continuing resolution.

Take Action Next Week to Support FY 2015 Omnibus, THUD

For three days next week, NAHRO will be asking advocates to call, write, and tweet their members of Congress to urge them to approve an omnibus spending package that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill at Senate levels. Be prepared to take action on Tuesday, November 18 through Thursday, November 20.

This is a critical time for housing and community development programs; between now and mid-December, Congress will be making important decisions about spending and taxes before adjourning for the last time before the new Congress takes office in January. This time is commonly referred to as the “lame duck” session of Congress: watch a webinar by NAHRO’s Congressional Relations team outlining what you need to know about the lame duck session.

NAHRO will launch three days of advocacy efforts to push for an omnibus spending package that includes T-HUD at Senate levels. For detailed information on how to participate, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page and download the document titled “Lame Duck Omnibus Advocacy Materials for Nov. 18-20.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, call your members of Congress.  Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for contact information for your legislators and talking points on the omnibus. Or, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for written instructions within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document on how to participate.

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, email your members of Congress. Visit the Advocacy Action Center again to send your members of Congress a pre-drafted, editable email about the importance of passing an omnibus spending package with T-HUD included at Senate levels.

On Thursday, Nov. 20tweet at your members of Congress. Visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for a sample tweet and to find your lawmakers’ Twitter handles within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document.

Please take action next week to ensure that your legislators know how critical the passage of an omnibus spending package that includes funding T-HUD at Senate levels is to your community.