As industry leaders gather for the National Apartment Association Advocate Conference in Washington D.C., it’s crucial to address the challenges facing the rental housing market, particularly the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). This program, supporting approximately 2.3 million families in accessing affordable housing, has encountered criticism and obstacles such as insufficient funding, lengthy waiting lists, and bureaucracy. These issues have led some property operators to opt-out, exacerbating the nationwide shortage of affordable housing options.
A study by the Urban Institute revealed a decline in rental units affordable to low-income households from 19% in 2000 to 14% in 2016. This decrease suggests that property operators may be opting out of programs like the HCVP, contributing to the scarcity of affordable housing.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) stressed in a 2019 report the need for increased property operator participation in the HCVP, stating that “a lack of available affordable units remains a significant barrier for voucher holders trying to find housing.” This underscores the importance of advocating for policies that remove barriers to construction and incentivize property operators to support housing assistance programs.
During the conference, it is essential to share personal stories and collaborate on solutions to address these pressing issues. One such story involves a developer in Cleveland and 17 investors who worked tirelessly to build a low-income housing tax credit community connected to a transportation system. This 40-unit development took over 21 years to complete, highlighting the urgent need to address the demand for more affordable housing.

By championing initiatives that encourage greater participation in the HCVP and other housing assistance programs, we can help mitigate the affordable housing crisis and make a meaningful impact on the lives of millions of Americans. Additionally, discussing legislation like the YIMBY Act, the Respect Local Housing Laws Act, and Section 8 reform will foster a diverse and inclusive community.
It’s important to note that property operators are not the issue here, but rather the unintended consequences of well-intentioned yet misinformed legislation and the lack of understanding and empathy from some legislators. By promoting a balanced dialogue between property operators, industry professionals, and legislators, we can work towards creating more effective housing policies that benefit all stakeholders and ensure a thriving rental housing market for years to come.

Beyond attending the Advocate conference, property professionals can take several steps to safeguard the rental property management industry from potentially harmful legislation:

Stay informed: Keep up-to-date on local, state, and federal housing policies, as well as industry trends and news. Subscribe to relevant newsletters, follow industry thought leaders on social media, and join professional organizations like the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) to ensure you’re well-informed.

Build relationships with local representatives: Establish connections with your local, state, and federal representatives. Invite them to tour your properties, share your experiences, and discuss the potential impact of legislation on the industry, tenants, and the broader community.

Educate legislators using industry research: Share your expertise and insights with policymakers to help them understand the complexities of the rental property management industry. Offer real-world examples, case studies, and data, such as the National Apartment Association’s (NAA) “Unintended Consequences” study, which highlights the potential negative outcomes of well-intentioned but misguided legislation.

Participate in local government meetings: Attend city council meetings, planning commission sessions, and other relevant local government events to voice your concerns and advocate for the industry.

Join and support industry associations: Strengthen the industry’s collective voice by actively participating in organizations like the NAA, IREM, and NMHC. These groups often have resources and tools to help members engage with legislators and advocate for the industry.

Engage in grassroots advocacy: Mobilize your colleagues, employees, and even tenants to contact their elected officials and express their concerns about proposed legislation. Grassroots advocacy can be a powerful tool in influencing policy decisions.

Collaborate with other stakeholders: Partner with other industry professionals, developers, housing advocates, and community organizations to present a united front and develop comprehensive solutions to address housing challenges.

Utilize social media: Share your perspectives, experiences, and insights on social media platforms to raise awareness about the potential impact of proposed legislation and to engage with a broader audience.

By actively engaging in these activities, property professionals can help protect the rental property management industry and ensure that policies are based on a comprehensive understanding of the sector’s complexities and the needs of all stakeholders.

While attending the Advocate conference in Washington, D.C., make the most of your time in the nation’s capital by exploring some of its top attractions. Here are the top 5 things to do in Washington, D.C., with links for more information:

Visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks:
Take a stroll through the National Mall, home to iconic landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.
National Mall and Memorial Parks:

Explore the Smithsonian Museums:
Discover the 19 museums and galleries that make up the Smithsonian Institution, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Smithsonian Museums:

Tour the U.S. Capitol and the White House:
Take a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and the White House, two of the most important symbols of American democracy. Advance reservations are required for some tours.
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center:
The White House:

Visit the National Gallery of Art:
Explore the extensive collection of art from various periods and cultures at the National Gallery of Art, which includes works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.
National Gallery of Art:

Walk along the National Harbor:
Enjoy the waterfront views, shops, and restaurants at the National Harbor, located just outside of Washington, D.C., in Maryland. The area also features the Capital Wheel, a 180-foot-tall Ferris wheel with breathtaking views of the city.
National Harbor:

Washington, D.C., offers a wealth of attractions and experiences for visitors. Make the most of your time in the city by exploring these top sites and creating lasting memories.

Links for DC

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