July 26 to 29, 2017, there will be national actions to raise awareness that housing is a human right and to pressure the federal government to lift spending caps and increase funds for housing. Currently, only one in four people who are eligible for federal housing assistance receive it and public housing is either being privatized or wiped out of existence. We speak with Sarah Mickelson of the National Low Income Housing Coalition about the situation from a policy standpoint and with David Prater, a disability rights activist, and Rev. Annie Chambers, a welfare rights activist, about actions they are organizing in Baltimore and why they are necessary.
Relevant articles and websites:
Poverty Don’t Know Color: Interview with Annie Chambers by Tanya Diggins, James Diggins and Ashley Hufnagel
Sarah Mickelson joined NLIHC as Director of Public Policy in June 2016. Sarah previously worked with Enterprise Community Partners as a Senior Analyst. In this role, she focused on building Congressional support for federal affordable housing and community development appropriations, including funding for programs administered by HUD and USDA. Prior to Enterprise, Sarah served as Policy Counsel at Rapoza Associates, a government affairs and lobbying firm specializing in affordable housing and community development, where she focused largely on rural development. While working as a Legislative and Policy Analyst at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Sarah’s portfolio included expanding access to
affordable mortgage and small business credit in low-income communities. Sarah graduated from the University of Connecticut, School of Law after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. She has also been a member of the Virginia State Bar since 2009.
David Prater is an attorney at Disability Rights Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where he now teaches as an adjunct professor. His legal work on human rights has taken him to South Africa, Israel, and, now, Baltimore, MD. He was worked with victims, community groups, and government agencies to remedy past discrimination through litigation, public policy, and community action. His legal practice at Disability Rights Maryland focuses on community integration for persons with disabilities by expanding access to affordable, accessible housing.
Rev. Annie Chambers is the delegate for Frederick Douglass Homes to the Resident Advisory Board and the first elected Green in Baltimore City. She has been an activist since the 1960s, president of the National Welfare Rights Union, National Homeless Union, Big Momma’s House for youth and families in public housing, and Scattered Site Rehab Housing.