October was a great month for recognition of women who advocate for housing as organizations awarded honors to policy makers whose steadfast work keeps our communities affordable and sustainable.
In October, the National Low-Income Housing Conference’s (NLIHC) announced that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will receive the 2018 Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award. Despite being kept very busy with this Administration’s attempt to rob Americans of affordable health care, Senator Collins continues to work tirelessly to protect and expand the federal government’s funding for affordable housing. Earlier in the month, Senator Collins along with five of her Republican Senate colleagues sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the agency assess the impact of housing policy on “productivity, job creation, economic growth, and tax revenue.” The Senators asked, “What is the cost of inaction?”
NLIHC will also honor Lisa Hasegawa with the 2018 Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award for her dedication to affordable housing on the behalf of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community.
October also marked the honoring of Enterprise Community Partner’s Emily Cadik, who was awarded the inaugural 2017 NHP Affordable Housing Advocacy Award.
While uplifting the incredible work of women who have dedicated their professional careers to affordable and sustainable housing, we should observe that it is women who also stand to lose the most from regressive policies that endanger affordable housing. The data tells us that women are increasingly taking on the role as head of household while their wages stay stubbornly below that of their male counterparts. In 2015, the Center for American Progress found that working mothers were more likely to be the sole or primary income earner for their families than any other previous year.
Black women and women of color face an even steeper uphill battle to housing equity. Housing is a women’s issue and a human rights issue. Fortunately, we have the right women working on our side.
To slightly paraphrase Beyoncé, “Who runs the (affordable housing) world? Women.”