The VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project:
Who’s Who In The VAHPP:
National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT)
Founded in 1991, NAHT is the first national membership organization of resident groups advocating for 2.1 million lower income families in privately-owned, HUD-assisted multifamily housing. Through NAHT, tenants have proven that united action can mount an effective campaign to save people’s homes. For seven years, from 1995-2002, the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) initiated and coordinated a successful VISTA program in HUD multi-family housing. The program placed up to 60 VISTA organizers each year in local host sites, and at the conclusion of the project, reached 32 cities in 27 states. .NAHT VISTAs helped tenants form more than 520 tenant organizations that met HUD standards, including several that achieved resident ownership of their developments. With assistance from VISTAs, these tenant associations preserved or improved more than 70,000 at-risk HUD apartments, and trained tens of thousands of tenants on their rights.
Equal Justice Works has partnered with NAHT to select organizing host sites and to provide training and support for 33 VISTA organizers placed with 20 local nonprofit tenant assistance organizations.
Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps VISTA)
VISTA was founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 as a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs. VISTA builds capacity in nonprofit organizations and communities to help bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Since 1965, over 190,000 have served as VISTA volunteers working with local organizations to strengthen communities and help people escape poverty. Eighty percent of former VISTA members continue to volunteer in their communities after their term of service ends.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set aside funds for a national VISTA Volunteer program in privately-owned HUD multifamily housing from Section 514 of the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act (MAHRAA). To date, HUD has advanced $2 million through an Interagency Agreement with CNCS for a two year VISTA Volunteer program. CNCS has matched these funds with its own resources for program benefits to support 45 participating VISTA Volunteers in VAHPP for two years.
About Equal Justice Works
The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. We provide leadership to ensure a sustainable pipeline of talented and trained lawyers are involved in public service. Equal Justice Works provides a continuum of programs that begin with incoming law school students and extend into careers in the profession. We provide the nation’s leading public interest law Fellowship program and offer more postgraduate, full-time legal positions in public service than any other organization.
Equal Justice Works has been selected by CNCS as its Intermediary organization to administer the VAHPP program. Equal Justice Works will also select legal host sites and train and support 12 VISTA attorneys placed with 10 nonprofit legal service organizations.
VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP)
This project will build the capacity of tenant associations in eligible Project Based Section 8 HUD-assisted properties to increase tenants’ knowledge of their rights, responsibilities and options for preserving and improving their homes and communities as affordable housing. The project aims to (1) increase tenant outreach and training capacity of qualified local nonprofit organizations in at least 20 cities; (2) organize or strengthen up to 120 independent tenant associations that meet HUD standards at 24 CFR Part 245 (3) help tenants save or improve at least 120 eligible Section 8 communities which house more than 18,000 families. 45 VISTA members will build the capacity of tenant organizations through outreach, education, leadership development and legal services over the next two years.