NAA’s At Home Program helps educate federal lawmakers about the apartment industry and helps its members create relationships with their elected officials.
According to a survey done by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), “The Future of Citizen Engagement: What Americans Want from Congress & How Members Can Build Trust,” 95% of Members of Congress polled rate “staying in touch with constituents” as the job aspect most critical to their effectiveness as lawmakers.
Given this reality, the National Apartment Association (NAA) created the At Home Program in 2021 to educate federal lawmakers on important housing priorities and to help NAA members cultivate relationships with their elected officials and their staffs by meeting with them in-district. In 2021, NAA’s members and affiliates held over 85 meetings in Congressional districts across the country during the August Congressional recess, educating legislators on the federal eviction moratorium and emergency rental assistance distribution, which ultimately helped lead to a lack of support for a legislative extension of the federal moratorium. The issues in 2022 may have been different, but NAA members had an enormous impact once again.
With such important policy issues facing the rental housing industry, it was important that NAA’s advocates, Key Contacts and affiliates made their voices heard on the following NAA priorities:
The CARES Act 30-Day Notice to Vacate
Urged lawmakers to support legislation to clarify ambiguities in the CARES Act’s temporary notice to vacate requirement for evictions.
The Choice in Affordable Housing Act
Asked lawmakers to support this legislation, which would encourage more robust housing provider participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and improve outcomes for low- and moderate-income renters.
The Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act
Asked lawmakers to support this legislation, which would encourage government entities to eliminate barriers to housing development.
During the August recess, NAA members and affiliates held nearly 90 meetings in districts across the U.S. At-home advocacy will continue to grow in importance in the years to come, but in 2022, NAA members have gone above and beyond.
In March 2021, COVID-19 rules and regulations were fluid, reflective of the changing environment, which led some members to not travel to Washington, D.C., for NAA’s annual Advocate conference. That didn’t stop these members and affiliates from taking part in the advocacy efforts, as 55 in-district meetings took place during Advocate, which means that there was a total of over 140 in-district meetings in 2022 as part of the At Home Program.
Whether it is in D.C., or at home in their respective Congressional districts, NAA members make their voices heard. Lawmakers have taken notice of the rental housing industry’s advocacy efforts and continue to work with NAA government affairs staff on these important issues, in part because of the great efforts of NAA’s membership and network of affiliated apartment associations. Just recently, Congressman Barry Loudermilk (Ga.-11) introduced H.R. 9062, the “Respect State Housing Laws Act,” which will help restore normal rental housing operations by ending the federal CARES Act Notice to Vacate requirement. NAA’s At Home meetings played a vital role in getting this important legislation introduced.
To all of the members, affiliates and Key Contacts who took part in this year’s At Home Program, NAA thanks you for your advocacy efforts. You are truly making a difference for yourself, your business and our industry.
Austin O’Boyle is Senior Manager, Grassroots Advocacy & Stakeholder Engagement for NAA.