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Policy Priorities

One of primary goals of the IHC is to raise the profile of shelter issues on the United States development agenda. To this end, the IHC publishes reports, hosts events and meets with members of Congress and Congressional staff to raise awareness of the critical role shelter plays in sustainable economic and human development worldwide. The IHC’s current policy priorities are:

1. Foreign Aid Reform: Congress has not updated its foreign assistance bill since 1961. The field of international development has made great changes in the past 50 years, and it is imperative that the bill governing the United States’ foreign involvement is updated as soon as possible to reflect current challenges and opportunities.

2. Federal Funding for Foreign Aid: The United States is facing difficult decisions about the federal budget which likely will include making budget cuts. Foreign aid is often seen as an easy area to cut funding, despite representing less than 1 percent of the entire federal budget. Programs that provide funding for shelter and urban projects are at particular risk, as funding for these areas has been declining in recent years without the increased pressure to reduce the federal budget. The IHC continues to push for adequate funding for development related foreign aid programs including those related to housing and housing -related services.

3. Emphasis on Shelter and Urban Issues within Foreign Aid Programs: The IHC believes that access to safe and affordable shelter is the foundation of successful development. Without a safe and healthy place to live, health, education, literacy, civic engagement and employment opportunities are all harder to achieve. For US funding to be as effective as possible, the IHC believes that shelter programs must be an integral part of the US development agenda, especially in the rapidly expanding cities of the developing world.

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