2018 Conference Workshop Materials

How Radical Proposals to Cut the US Budget Threaten to Displace Millions from Their Homes

How and why are HUD Multifamily, Public and Voucher tenants threatened with the loss of subsidies that make housing affordable for millions of low income families? This workshop will explain the basics of the HUD budget and the annual federal
appropriations cycle and how deep cuts and rent increases threaten HUD tenants in 2018 and beyond. Panelists will also explore alternatives to prevent cuts, tax the 1%, redirect Pentagon spending and invest in jobs.

This workshop will explain proposals by HUD and Congressional leaders to raise rents and impose “work requirements” on HUD and Public Housing tenants, as well as alternatives such as Jobs Plus, Section 3 and the Family Self Sufficiency program in Public and Section 8 housing, that encourage and reward workers.


Intro to HUD Multifamily Housing: Risks and Opportunities for Tenants

More than 1.3 million families live in housing where Project Based Section 8 contracts are expiring. Learn about expiring Section 8 contracts and mortgages; basics of “Mark Up to Market”; Enhanced vs. Project Based Vouchers; risks and opportunities for tenants.


How to Start a Tenant Group (for beginning HUD Multifamily tenant groups)

Tips on how to organize a tenant group in your building, for beginners. Review of NAHT’s “Organizer’s Cookbook.” Learn how to set up and convene a meeting; recruit members; deal with management harassment. Group role play on how to plan an agenda, prepare a flyer, develop a recruitment “script,” and arrange the room.


You’ve Won Resident-Controlled Housing: What’s Next?

Some 25 tenant groups in HUD Multifamily Housing who bought their buildings in the 1990’s have found new problems and challenges including how to ensure that tenant boards truly control management; managing the tension between “ownership” and advocacy for tenants; conflict and internal struggles for control, including racial/ethnic tensions; keeping up repairs, maintenance and security. This workshop will feature veteran leaders to share how they’ve managed these challenges after tenants bought their buildings.


How Tenants Can Combat Discrimination and Harassment in HUD Housing

Discrimination against people of color, women, the disabled and other groups protected under the Fair Housing Act is widespread in HUD assisted housing. Management harassment of tenants who speak out, manipulation of wait lists and “selling apartments,” segregation within developments, sexual harassment, and management playing on racial divisions to disempower tenants are commonplace.

In recent years, HUD issued new Rules to combat discrimination and harassment and affirmatively further Fair Housing for all. The Department of Justice also has initiated a new program to combat sexual harassment. Panelists will explore how tenants can use federal protections to fight for their rights and combat discrimination, harassment and segregation in HUD housing.


Ideas to Build and Sustain Your Tenant Group

Participants will form “Open Space” break-out groups to learn from peers from across the country, sharing wisdom and best practices on how to develop leaders; educate, involve and motivate tenants in your building; how to build and maintain democratic practices; manage transitions; how to work across and overcome racial and ethnic differences; and prevent and resolve conflicts.


How HUD Tenants Can Fight Urban Displacement and Gentrification

Reflecting worldwide trends, American cities are undergoing profound changes as global investors reconstruct central cities for the 1% and displace and isolate lower class groups, particularly people of color. HUD has adopted new policies allowing owners to transfer Section 8 contracts from one location to another, potentially segregating tenants by race and class. Public Housing agencies are selling off land and buildings to private developers. HUD tenants are fighting back! This workshop will compare notes on how tenants can save our homes and communities from displacement and gentrification.


Enforcing the Right to Organize: Coping with Management Harassment

NAHT has won strong regulations from HUD which affirm the right of tenants and organizers in HUD Multifamily Housing to form independent tenant associations free of management control. HUD has notified owners that they can be fined and sanctioned for violating tenants’ rights, but has yet to penalize any owner, despite widespread violations.

As Public Housing converts to private ownership under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration, new regulations allow RAD tenants to organize independently of Housing Agencies and owners, but violations of tenants’ rights are widespread. This workshop will explain the regulations and present success stories of coping with owners and PHAs who undermine tenants’ attempts to organize. Participants will also discuss how to use HUD’s complaint process for Right to Organize violations and HUD’s new Fair Housing rule to combat harassment.


Winning Safe and Healthy Housing: Toxic Buildings, Bullies, and Bedbugs

HUD’s aging housing stock presents many challenges to tenants’ health and safety, especially for senior and handicapped tenants. Toxic indoor air, water leaks and mold, drafty windows, poor ventilation and aging carpets are widespread. This workshop will report on recent efforts by tenants and advocates to address these problems in a systematic way, and new proposals to beef up HUD’s lead paint removal standards.

Elderly and handicapped tenants in particular often are victimized by “bullying” and abusive behavior, by managers and other residents. The workshop will also explore what tenants can do to address bullying and
negative social environments, including filing complaints with HUD.

The workshop will also explore punitive leases that force tenants to pay for bedbug treatment or face eviction, and NAHT’s proposals to change HUD policy.


Next Steps in the US and Global Movement for Housing as a Basic Human Right and the Right to the City

NAHT’s fight to Save Our Homes is mirrored by similar struggles worldwide, as people fight massive “forced evictions” promoted by governments and developers backed by global financial institutions, and tenants fight budget cuts and “deregulation” of housing, water, and public services across the board.

This workshop will discuss campaigns to link housing rights struggles in the US and around the globe, including the movement for the Right to the City.


Tenant Strategies to Preserve At-Risk HUD Multifamily Housing

More than 360,000 low rent HUD apartments have been lost since April 1996 due to owner decisions to prepay or opt-out of HUD programs. Another 100,000 have been lost through HUD foreclosure. In recent years, tenants have been challenged as 40 year mortgages expire and HUD rent controls and subsidies end. NAHT has launched a national strategy to save our homes in response.

Learn how tenants have used HUD’s Mark Up to Market program, Enhanced or Project-Based Vouchers, and refinancing through Low Income Housing Tax Credits to preserve at-risk housing; creative litigation from tenant groups; and tenant victories in negotiating with landlords to Save Our Homes.


Coping with Recertification, Utility Allowances and HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) Program: How They’re Supposed to Work, Issues Raised by Tenants

In recent years, HUD tenants have been subjected to new, often intrusive “recertification” and cross checking of government databases by the EIV system mandated by HUD. In addition, many tenants have received inadequate or improper utility allowances, resulting in higher rents.

Come to this workshop to find out why Congress and HUD have instituted the EIV system, how it’s supposed to work, and what tenants’ rights are to access their files and appeal and correct the record. The workshop will also explain how utility allowances are calculated and their impact on tenants’ rents.


Improving Your Building: How to Win and Fund Repairs and Upgrades in HUD Multifamily Housing

After 40 years, most HUD Multifamily developments need major repairs and upgrades. Addressing water leaks that cause toxic mold, replacing worn out carpets, cabinets and bathroom fixtures, and “weatherizing” buildings through “green rehab” programs are urgent needs in many developments.

This workshop will highlight successful resident campaigns to survey repair needs and win physical improvements, and identify current financing programs that tenants can encourage owners to pursue from HUD, state and local agencies.


How to Raise Funds for Your Tenant Group

Includes grassroots fundraising methods and ideas from NAHT affiliates in the field. The workshop will also discuss the future of the HUD funded VISTA projects administered by Equal Justice Works and NAHT, and the prospects of HUD funding for tenant education and support. The workshop will also discuss strategies to provide $25 per apartment to resident groups whose owners participate in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration for Public Housing. 


HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration: Threat, or Benefit, to Tenants?

In 2011, Congress passed HUD”s Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD), to invite private investors to renovate Public housing. NAHT and others expressed concern about whether RAD would result in the “privatization” and loss of affordable housing and the displacement of low income tenants.

So far, RAD has affected 185,000 families, converting 17% of all US Public Housing into “expiring use,” “mixed income” developments owned by private investors. Starved of needed funds by Congress and the Administration, Public Housing agencies are clamoring to join RAD, with vast consequences for tenants and US cities.

This workshop will learn from the experience of tenant leaders who are in the forefront of trying to make RAD work for tenants.


How to Remove an Abusive Site Manager or Management Company in HUD Multifamily Housing

Across the country, tenant groups have struggled with how to get rid of incompetent, corrupt and/or downright nasty on-site managers. Some groups have succeeded in changing on-site management or even removing management companies, in buildings that are not owned by tenants. Find out how they did it!

Recently, HUD has agreed to restore Management and Occupancy Reviews (MOR). Learn how to use HUD’s MOR process to enforce the rules in your development!


How Tenants Can Win Security with Justice in HUD Housing

Many HUD tenants have lost their housing due to the actions of household members and guests. This workshop will discuss different options to deal with security and justice issues, such as when to call the police, when to take action as a tenant group and how to work with private security companies.

This workshop will promote relationship-building within your community as well as with management and security. We will also discuss proactive steps to prevent conflict and improve community security through empowering residents as an alternative.


How to Make Our Voices Heard at HUD

Despite many top positions vacant at HUD, NAHT tenants have maintained a productive dialogue in DC and with some local HUD offices. This workshop will explore how tenants have effectively raised issues with HUD in New York City in the past year. Participants will also practice how to raise tenants’ concerns effectively with top HUD officials in Monday afternoon’s Conference session. The workshop will include discussion of NAHT’s recommendations for tenant participation and reform of HUD’s REAC and Management and Occupancy Review inspections.


How to Use Social Media to Save Our Homes

Learn and share ideas on how to use social media to organize tenants and save our homes! Learn about the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other tools, the “ladder of engagement”, on-line petitions, Action Alerts, and ways to build your membership.