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Habitat on the Hill

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Last week, over 600 representatives of Habitat for Humanity affiliates from across the country poured onto Capitol Hill with one common goal: to advocate for policies that put homeownership within reach for hardworking families across the country. Chief Philanthropy Officer Sherrana Kildun, Habitat homeowner Peka, and myself collaborated with the Washington State Delegation of Habitats to meet with nearly all the elected officials representing our state in Congress. In each meeting, we talked about Habitat’s legislative agenda, which includes:

  • Funding for critical programs that enable Habitat to subsidize construction, including Home Investment Partnership Programs (HOME), Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), 502 Direct Loan Programs, and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Support for the Neighborhood Home Investments Act (NHIA), a bipartisan bill that incentivizes lenders to work with affordable housing developers in exchange for a tax credit

Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) even agreed to sign on as a co-sponsor for this bill during our meeting. We were fortunate enough to have meetings with four state lawmakers representing Pierce County—Representatives Strickland and Kilmer, and Senators Murray and Cantwell—all of whom are extremely supportive of the work that Habitat does.

Did you know?
You can advocate on behalf of Habitat by contacting your representatives and urging them to support these priorities!

Liz Crouse, Sherrana Kildun, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, and South Puget Sound Habitat CEO Greg Laura pose behind Habitat homeowner Peka (who was the star of the show!)

While advocating at the Capitol was an exciting experience, it was far from the only work we did while in Washington, D.C. We also engaged in three days of education, networking, and reflection alongside our colleagues. On Monday, we attended a seminar about land use policy at the Urban Institute, a D.C.-based think tank that provides crucial data and research to support various social service sectors, including affordable housing. The seminar overviewed policy changes that have occurred across the country that take innovative approaches to solving the housing supply shortage.

For example, did you know that Austin, Texas is the largest city in the United States that has eliminated mandatory parking minimums? Parking minimums require developers to dedicate a portion of a new residential building for vehicle parking. This effectively reduces the number of units a developer can fit in a new residential building, and especially in cities with established public transit, this can be a detrimental trade to make in a time when housing supply is falling far behind the demand. That’s just one example of the innovative strategies that Habitats across the country are using to encourage affordable housing development.

A panel of land use policy experts, including President of the American Planning Association Angela Brooks, Urban Institute Senior Researcher Yonah Freemark, Alexandria City Councilmember Alyia Gaskins, and Habitat for Humanity of Charlottesville CEO Dan Rosensweig.


As we return to Tacoma after an impactful week at Habitat on the Hill 2024, we have a renewed sense of purpose and solidarity with which to do our work. With an arsenal of new ideas, policies, and relationships, we are now ready to advocate for affordable homeownership in our community like never before. We’ve accomplished a lot, but there’s much more to do. Now, back to work!

Want to learn more about our advocacy journey and help us make homeownership a possibility for everyone? Start by subscribing to our monthly advocacy newsletter here.


Liz Crouse is Tacoma Habitat’s Policy & Advocacy Manager. You can contact her at 

Posted in: Advocacy