NAIHC Legal Symposium: An urgent call for advocacy

Elizabeth Glynn photo

This week was the Native American Indian Housing Council Legal Symposium in Las Vegas, and Travois was pleased to support the conference as the Turquoise Premier sponsor.

During the three-day conference, Travois industry leaders led sessions explaining the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, provided client case studies, and instructed on Fair Housing practices.

In the opening session, I had the privilege to speak to the full group and expressed the urgency for all to advocate for NAHASDA and the tax credit industry. In case you missed it, I will repeat it here:

In the past few weeks, the tax credit industry has gone into turmoil over the possibility of corporate tax rates dropping to perhaps 15 percent, according to President-elect Trump’s campaign promises. If corporations don’t owe as many taxes as before, the demand to offset those taxes with credits goes down.

While the tax credit industry is cautiously optimistic that the program itself will be retained and the only result will be lowered pricing from investors, we can’t take anything for granted. I believe now is the time for Indian Country to make sure its representatives in Congress know how important this bipartisan supported program is to us all.

If you have a successful tax credit project, please ask your tribal leadership to call and invite your congressional delegation to take a tour. Ask your staff members to make a note on their calendars to call your local district offices every week to share a story of a family that you’ve helped move into a home. Better yet, help that family make the call.

If you want to have access to these critical tax credits programs — at this point one of the only funding sources available for large-scale developments — call Congress and let them know. Weekly. Ask your staff and residents to do the same. Use this phone call to ask them to pass NAHASDA reauthorization too.

Travois will be there to support you and provide resources, but your voice matters more. We have testified before Congress; Every year we speak at dozens of public hearings, and provide hundreds of pages of written commentary to various agencies, but they want to hear directly from you, their constituents, as well. As always, we will continue to provide our clients with talking points, data and documentation to advocate for change at the local, state and federal level. This information is available on our website here.  

As we’re reminded this week by the water protectors in North Dakota, your voices do make a difference. Action does work and putting pressure on elected leaders will be one of our only opportunities to protect the programs and financing that we all know is critical to alleviating poverty and homelessness and creating a better future for our children.

Besides these opening remarks, our Travois staff also shared this message at our booth. We encouraged attendees to reach out to their representatives to tell them to reauthorize NAHSADA and keep the LIHTC and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) programs strong. We provided postcards for sharing stories with Congress and talking points for telephone calls.

We encourage you to reach out to your representatives too! Here is some helpful information to get you started:

      • I am writing on behalf of [name of your Tribal Housing Entity or Tribe]. We need the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to create homes and jobs. Keep it strong.
      • Make NAHASDA reauthorization a high priority! It is essential for developing housing in tribal communities.

For the last 21-years, Travois and our partners have worked together to create more than $1 billion in affordable housing and economic development. This track record of success demonstrates what we can do when we work together.

We’re entering a completely new political environment that puts a lot of your hard work in jeopardy. And that’s why we need to work together now more than ever. Thank you for allowing us to work with you on this shared mission.