In its FY 2019 budget request, the Trump Administration has once again proposed radically deep cuts to the HUD budget, rent increases for millions of tenants, and bogus “work requirements” that will throw tens of thousands of people on the streets.
While Trump’s cuts for 2019 may be “dead in the water” on Capitol Hill this year, they set a dangerous marker where the Administration wants to go in the next decade. Worse, Trump’s bogus “work requirements” for Medicaid, housing assistance and Food Stamps will be pushed in legislation expected to be filed in March--and has broader support on Capitol Hill.
The elected, all-tenant NAHT Board calls on NAHT affiliates and allies to RESIST these proposals! Plan a response in your community! Some examples of what you can do:
• Line up tenant leaders for quotes in media stories about the cuts--issue a press release and call local media, to make tenant voices heard! Use the press release from the NAHT Board for quotes and messaging. Find information about how budget cuts affect your state in this state-by-state guide. Find out how much tenants’ rents will increase in your state here.
• Start a social media campaign. Post your messages to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Coalition for Human Needs posted this useful guide for tweeting at your state's elected officials and sample tweets. Find your Senator’s Twitter handle here and your Representatives Twitter handle here. Organize Twitter users to tweet on the same day or in a specific time window using the same hashtag to get your topic “trending”. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition is recommending #handsoff as a hashtag to use across the movement.
• Tell tenant stories. NAHT is collecting and posting stories of tenants affected by cuts on its Facebook page and website. Please send quotes from tenants, the name of the building they live in, if they are a Section 8 voucher tenant and a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. See example here.
• Organize a press conference at a housing development, city agency or HUD office--invite elected officials to join tenants to protest the cuts! The Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants delivered a Cease and Desist Order to Donald Trump to the HUD in Boston to protest budget proposals and rent increases to tenants. See their flyer here.
• Reach out to allies. Seniors, people with disabilities, CAP agencies, Legal Services, Food Stamp recipients, neighborhood groups and CDC’s have a direct stake in fighting the cuts. So do health care groups, trade unions, teachers and students. Peace groups can be allies fighting increases in Pentagon pork at the expense of the poor. Join with them! The Mass Peoples Budget Campaign is a good local model.
• Join other national Days of Action. The Not One Penny Coalition is sponsoring Tax Day actions on April 14. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is calling for local Days of Action in early May. Join or sponsor an action, and make sure tenants voices are heard!
• Contact your elected officials. Sign onto the letter from the Coalition for Human Needs with other groups here. CHN also created an email form for individuals to email their elected officials directly, found here.
• Organize a postcard campaign demanding your Congress people oppose cuts! Last year, New York Tenants and Neighbors and the Texas Tenants Union collected postcards to present to their elected officials. You can organize press and social media when postcards are delivered to local offices. See NAHT's postcard and phone bank tip sheet here!
For resources and messaging ideas, including sample tweets and social media posts, visit NAHT’s resource page and 2018 specific resource list. We have assembled in one place key materials compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the National Housing Law Project, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the Coalition for Human Needs.
Keep NAHT posted of your local actions! We will post them on NAHT’s Facebook page and website.