NAA’s annual advocacy conference featured the nation’s leading housing policymakers.
Record Progress for Rental Housing
A new record attendance was set as rental housing industry professionals gathered in Washington, D.C., during the final week of March for Advocate 2023. Total attendance reached 864, with 345 newcomers. That breaks the previous attendance record of 853 in 2021—which was a virtual event.
The annual advocacy conference from the National Apartment Association allowed rental housing professionals to meet, network and become advocates for the industry as they spoke with their federal representatives. This year’s Advocate featured a staggering 262 Congressional meetings.
The support for rental housing industry advocacy was also witnessed during the National Suppliers Council NAAPAC Happy Hour. In just that one hour, $12,000 was raised, and $30,000 was raised over the course of the conference.
Moving the Policy Needle
Industry advocates at this year’s conference met with lawmakers to promote responsible policy solutions, aimed to improve housing affordability long term, and strengthen the nation’s rental housing infrastructure for generations to come.
Echoing NAA’s top three 2023 policy priorities, industry professionals encouraged lawmakers to:
- Revitalize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program to attract and better serve private sector rental housing providers through the bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act;
- Incentivize local governments to lower barriers to development and increase the supply of rental housing with the bipartisan Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act; and
- End the federal CARES Act 30-day notice-to-vacate requirement for federally backed and federally assisted rental properties through the bipartisan Respect State Housing Laws Act.
A common theme underscoring all of these priorities, industry advocates encouraged lawmakers to oppose federal efforts to interfere into the landlord-tenant relationship – and use carrots, not sticks, to increase rental affordability and housing choice for renters.
This year’s Lobby Day efforts are already achieving tangible results – and moving the policy needle in the direction of responsible housing solutions. Since Advocate, nine members of Congress have already co-
sponsored one of NAA’s three bipartisan bills – and both the Choice in Affordable Housing and YIMBY Acts were part of a recent hearing of the Senate Banking Committee.
All-Star Policymaker Lineup
NAA’s 2023 Advocate also provided industry advocates with unparalleled access to the nation’s leading housing policymakers. Even more, this year’s conference featured an all-star lineup of women leaders during Women’s History Month.
During this year’s policymaker discussion, 2023 NAA Chair Ronda Puryear had robust conversations with both U.S. Representative Young Kim (R-Calif.-40) and HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman. Rep. Kim spoke about her efforts to find commonsense solutions, particularly to help address the nation’s housing affordability crisis. Deputy Secretary Todman, who also spoke with NAA’s Board of Directors at Advocate 2022, continued the conversation about efforts to increase housing provider participation in HUD’s Section 8 program.
Thursday’s Affordable Housing Committee meeting featured HUD’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) Ashley Sheriff, who updated NAA members about the rollout of HUD’s NSPIRE inspections standards with an anticipated deadline of Oct. 1, 2023. During her presentation, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheriff announced additional flexibilities for Section 8 housing to comply with the new standards, encouraged industry participation in the scoring-related notice of public comment which ended on April 27, 2023, and graciously answered many committee member and audience questions.
NAA remains committed to fostering strong relationships with housing policymakers and generously appreciates each of these leaders joining us for Advocate.
Zach Quimby is NAA’s Public Affairs Manager.