Each year representatives from Habitat affiliates from around the country gather in Washington D.C. to advocate for affordable housing. Members from Habitat meet Congressional representatives to discuss the organization’s need to sustain and expand services and community partnerships. Habitat on the Hill also allows affiliates to promote the Cost of Home campaign and its focus on bringing to light the struggles families face on a daily basis. Members express the need to expand funding for affordable housing that go towards land acquisition, home repairs, rehabilitation, infrastructure  improvement, and down payment assistance. The need for affordable housing is on the radar of politicians everywhere, by meeting with political leaders, affiliates can have much needed conversations around what needs to happen to make a home more attainable.

The other purpose of Habitat on the Hill is learning what other affiliates are doing to increase their advocacy efforts. Gabriel Jaramillo, who is the Director of Community Development at Habitat Central Arizona, says that one of the best parts of Habitat on the Hill, after coming home from D.C. each year is, “we can take what we have learned from other affiliates and their successful projects and legislation and promote or replicate it here”. With this in mind, staff from Arizona affiliates recognized the need to meet not only with representatives on a federal level, but with state representatives as well.

That need was met last week on the first annual Arizona Hill Day. Members from the Tucson and Central Arizona affiliates came together to share what Habitat does in Arizona to build communities and relationships in a time where housing is a more urgent concern than ever before. Most representatives were familiar with Habitat’s mission of building new affordable homes for low to moderate income families but were most interested in hearing about the new community stabilizing programs Arizona affiliates have created. In Central Arizona, the new Construction in Training program works with adult students to attain new constructions skills to prepare them for the workforce while the Tucson affiliates education program gives students hands on experience working in design and construction of new homes. Advocacy is a big part of how Habitat shares its mission and the Cost of Home campaign. Click here to learn more.

(Top Right: Jason Barlow, Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, Camille Perez, Gabriel Jaramillo  Middle: Pete Morgan, House Member Rosanna Gabaldón, Ann Vargas Bottom Right: Chris Owen, Jason, Sen. Paul Boyer, Debra Bradley, Camille Perez)