NAA and NMHC Joint Legislative Program to End
On Monday, the National Apartment Association and the National Multi Housing Council announced that they would end their Joint Legislative Program. The organizations announced the split in press releases on their respective websites.
For the past 17 years, the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program has represented the apartment industry before Congress, federal agencies and the judicial branch. They have worked effectively together to bring the concerns of the rental industry to the attention of policymakers in Washington.
The stated goal of the Joint Legislative Program is to assure “that owners and managers of multifamily rental units are able to engage government officials in constructive, ongoing dialogues and participate in policy decisions affecting their ability to providing housing to millions of Americans.”
Now it seems that the NAA has become large enough to support its own legislative outreach efforts on behalf of its members. The two organization plan on continuing to work together after the program officially ends on March 1, 2009.
The organizations work together to make sure that the interests of the apartment industry are known to policymakers and regulatory officials. When lawmakers are considering a law or agencies are making changes to existing policy, the Joint Legislative Program can advise those making decisions on how they can expect the apartment rental industry to react.
This is important, not only to apartment managers and those in related industries such as developers and contractors, but also to the 87 million renters in the United States. So, if there are issues before Congress that affect the housing industry, such as this year’s, H.R. 3221, the housing rescue plan, the NAA/NMHC can convey to lawmakers their suggestions and concerns.
This lobbying effort is essential to apartment owners and renters alike; with nearly one third of Americans in rental housing, government official need to be aware of how policies are affecting the nation. If almost 90 million voters are going to be adversely affected by certain policies, Congress needs to be made aware. Lobbying associations such as these are able to provide necessary information regarding large constituencies of citizens with like interests in an efficient manner.
For example, when HUD was not making timely payments to apartment owners participating in the Section 8 housing program, the NAA/NMHC testified before a Senate Committee to advise lawmakers that apartment owners would not be able to keep up with their monthly costs if HUD could not make their payments on time. The testimony was integral in keeping low income housing available for many renters.
Without this information, lawmakers and regulatory officials may have not been aware of the danger to the Section 8 housing program. This is how lobbyists are effective; they get complicated information that affects large groups of people to decision makers in a timely fashion.