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2023 Policy Agenda & New Legislative Session

Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, Director of Housing Policy

The 2023 legislative session opened last week on Wednesday January 11, 2023.The members of the 2023-24 North Carolina House of Representatives and the 2023-2024 North Carolina Senate were sworn in. There are over 25 new members in the state house of representatives, and over 10 new senators. Both chambers have selected their leadership, both Senator Phil Berger, and Representative Tim Moore (for a record 5th term) have been reappointed as President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House respectively. Remember that after the midterms, Republicans have gained a supermajority in the State Senate, and are only one vote shy of a supermajority in the State House, meaning that they are only one vote shy in one chamber a Democratic Governor’s veto. 

Even with this legislative context, we believe affordable housing is still going to be among the various issues covered this long session which we anticipate will pick up later this spring and early Summer. With that, we are happy to share with you our 2023 Policy Agenda, which includes prioritized policy areas and key strategies we plan to pursue this year. In the coming weeks we will continue to send out resources that dive into these agenda areas and strategies, and provide more details on how you can engage in this work with us this year. 

In late fall of 2022, through surveys, and convening a multi-disciplined team of affordable housing and community development practitioners, the policy areas listed below were prioritized based on our 2021 policy agenda. In addition to these policy areas, using feedback from the committee and survey responses from our broader coalition network, various strategies were prioritized as well. Many of them have long been items the coalition has advocated for, and some are new for us. 

2023 Policy Agenda – Prioritized Policy Areas
The core themes of our policy agenda are: funding, supply, capacity, and access. 

  1. Advocate for reliable, dedicated, and coordinated public resources that meet the scale of the housing need. 
  2. Support housing policies and resources that keep families in their homes and allow communities to thrive. 
  3. Promote equitable access to housing and opportunity that reckons with our long history of racist housing policies and practices. 
  4. Ensure that local policies facilitate an adequate supply of quality housing accessible across a community’s income spectrum.

Key Strategies
The following strategies were prioritized as part of the agenda development process, and cut across several of our policy agenda areas, intentionally so. Our key strategies prioritized for 2023 include:

Advocate and support:

  • Increasing the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Having a dedicated revenue source for the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Increasing and making the WHLP allocation a recurring expense.
  • Programs and policies that protect and improve access to housing.
  • An office within our state government to focus on coordinating housing programs across state and local agencies.
  • Improving screening criteria and processes that landlords use for example, removing evictions that do not result in judgment from people’s records.
  • Statewide protections against source of income discrimination in publicly funded developments.
  • Increased support for the Key Rental Assistance & Targeting Programs.

Provide information and resources on:

  • The impacts of exclusionary zoning.
  • The various land use reform models and their impacts on the creation of and access to affordable housing.
  • The barriers to homeownership and potential solutions.

Next Steps & Looking Ahead

Over the coming weeks you’ll be able to see resources and materials from us that dive into the work we are preparing to do in these prioritized agenda areas, but also share ways that our broader coalition hopes to collaborate with both new and established partners to strengthen our movement. 

Later this long session we will be planning a legislative – Housing day of action in North Carolina to talk to our elected officials about affordable housing and several of these priorities. 

In addition to taking the time to meet with our state elected officials we will be taking a trip to Washington D.C to meet with our elected officials at the federal officials, especially because there are so many new members. Whether you are able to join us or not, we hope to ensure we coordinate our messaging and bring a strong front both to our local and federal elected officials to discuss our state’s needs and priorities this legislative session.

For a list of our policy committee members, and other materials related to our policy agenda, click here.

Housing is a human right. Donate today to invest in our 2023 Policy Agenda and support communities across North Carolina.

Recommended read

Choosing Love and Treating Housing as a Human Right: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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