IHC Newsletter - March 2007
Volume 1 Issue 1
IHC Forms Policy Committee: On February 27 the IHC Policy Committee met for the first time at the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). All IHC members are invited to Policy Committee meetings.
The purposes of the meeting were to develop an IHC legislative program and identify contacts in Congress who might be interested in the mission and legislative program of the IHC.
It was the consensus of the meeting that the IHC legislative program for 2007 should be modest and achievable. It was agreed the priority initiative should be to support the approval of an Africa Housing and Infrastructure Facility (AHIF) as part of USAID's Development Credit Authority (DCA). This request is part of the President's budget, and funded (as transfer authority) at a $5 million level.
Potential supporters of the AHIF were identified, and NAR and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) agreed to set up appointments on the Hill for the IHC in the near future.
The IHC will periodically keep members informed of the progress that is being made. Please email Bob Dubinsky at Dubinsky@intlhc.org with your questions or suggestions.
|Since 1999, the DCA has been used to facilitate public private partnerships in developing countries to increase the availability and access to credit for borrowers who traditionally have found it difficult to obtain critically-needed financing from banks. Each loan guarantee is a powerful catalyst for unlocking private sector resources to spur economic growth by encouraging lending, increasing investment opportunities, and strengthening the skills|
| and capacity of private financial institutions. In 2006, the DCA established 20 new guarantees totaling $62.6 million, making $159 million available in total credit, at a cost to USAID of only $5.8 million. Forty-eight countries are now participating in the DCA program. Fifty percent of the credit made available in 2006 was for Africa, but this met only a small portion of the demand. |
Why the IHC Supports the AHIF:
IHC Efforts in Support of AHIF: The IHC sent a letter to Representative Nita M. Lowey, the Chairperson of the House Appropriations Sub Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, urging the Committee to approve an Africa Housing and Infrastructure Facility (AHIF) at a funding level of $5 million.
IHC BOARD CHAIR VISITS CENTRAL AMERICA
Peter Kimm, Chairman of the IHC Board of Directors, traveled to Central America for a week in early February to explore opportunities for implementing the IHC’s Leader with Associates (LWA) Agreement with USAID. The LWA incorporates a contracting vehicle that allows USAID missions to develop programs with the IHC focused on housing policy and advocacy.
| In addition, he visited the Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) area offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala. |
In Costa Rica, the team met with the HFHI Latin American leadership to discuss the IHC, advocacy efforts, USAID, and related matters. There is excitement about the new parameters for HFHI’s activities and interest in working with IHC. In El Salvador the team met with the HFHI leadership and with USAID Mission Director Deborah Kennedy-Irahetu and Deputy Director Tully Cornick to discuss possible areas of USAID-HFHI future collaboration.
| Later in the day the team met with leaders of NGOs involved in the housing sector in El Salvador, who provided a comprehensive assessment of the housing situation in the country, including a series of recommendations for policy changes and action.
In Guatemala meetings were held with HFHI/Guatemala leadership and with Jim Stein, Director of Economic Development at USAID.
In these countries the HFHI national organizations are strong, with their own Boards and Executive Directors and significant levels of output. HFHI in Guatemala has built more than 25,000 houses and is the largest homebuilder in the country. Both have an increasing interest in national housing policy and issues.
The USAID officials were friendly and had personal housing experience but advised that housing was not included in current Mission objectives. The team expressed interest in a medium to long-term relationship and explored possible areas of common interests, such as poverty alleviation, drinking water, microfinance and especially disaster assistance. Disasters are recurrent in Central America and usually involve housing.
In El Salvador, USAID suggested that HFHI participate in an ongoing dialogue with the Superintendent of Banks about mortgage lending criteria as a next step in a continuing relationship.
In Guatemala, the team learned that the US provided $6 million in housing assistance for the damage caused by Hurricane Stan. In accordance with the request of the Guatemalan government, this money was transferred to the UNDP which was managing disaster assistance from multiple sources. IHC’s view is that in future disasters, some part of the funds should be used to monitor expenditures and ensure that the best possible policies are utilized in the implementation of the disaster relief effort. REAUME FOUNDATION GRANT
IHC Receives Grant from the Reaume Foundation for Africa Housing Activities: The IHC received a grant of $20,000 from the Leonard P. Reaume Foundation to provide partial funding for a project to study housing policy problems and related issues in selected countries in Africa and organize a policy forum to consider recommendations about what specific steps the US government could take to help address Africa’s and the developing world’s housing needs.
IHC FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN
IHC Embarks on Multi-faceted Fundraising Campaign: In late 2006, the IHC hired Terry Ann Rogers as a consultant for a four-month period to undertake a fundraising campaign. Fundraising packets were prepared for the campaign. Packets may be obtained by contacting the IHC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|IHC Luncheon for Consulting Companies: The first in a series of IHC outreach luncheons for membership development was held for consulting firms on January 30. The luncheon took place at the NAR offices with nineteen people attending, from the IHC, Chemonics, TCG International, PADCO, Abt Associates, Urban Institute, CHF International, USAID, Westat, and Habitat for Humanity International. After presentations about the IHC, discussion focused on advocacy on the hill, the dearth of relevant research linking housing investment and economic growth, the new USAID Operational Plan Guidance, and how to craft a positive message about housing advocacy.|
Foundations: Obtaining support from foundations is key to the IHC’s being able to fulfill its programmatic mission. Research on foundations is underway. Prior to submitting formal grant applications, the IHC needs to develop concept papers and then schedule introductory meetings with the targeted foundations. A group of advisors on housing research is meeting on March 28, 2007 to assist the IHC with the identification of concepts and the writing of the concept papers.
Below is the IHC membership statement and application. Please print it out, sign the statement, fill in the application and send a check.
International Housing Coalition Membership Statement
As a member of the International Housing Coalition, the organization I represent agrees to support the following mission statement, principles and goals of the IHC:
Signature of Authorized Representative of the Organization
International Housing Coalition (IHC) Membership Application
The organization described below seeks membership in the International Housing Coalition:
Name of Organization
Phone Number of Contact Person
Email Address of Contact Person
Describe Organization’s Mission, Goals, and Organizational Structure
Size of the Organization____________________________________________________
Size of 2006 Operating Budget ($US)__________________________________________
Other relevant information (Countries of operation etc)
Signed General Membership Statement Enclosed? Yes
Check for $50 Enclosed? Yes
Name of Person Providing Information and Contact Information
International Housing Coalition
10 G Street NE, Suite 480
Washington, DC 20002