By Kent Conine. Even in the best-housed nation on Earth, housing is not something you can take for granted. Housing needs advocates, and in Washington and across the country there is no better housing advocate than the NAHB.
On behalf of our members and the public they serve, advocacy is without question one of the NAHB's most important missions. Carrying a pro-housing message to Congress, the administration, the federal regulatory agencies, state legislatures, the local community, and our citizens at large is essential for accomplishing our mission of building the housing our country's growing population needs. And it is essential for ensuring that "the voice of the housing industry" -- our voice -- resounds persuasively from coast to coast.
On the front lines of housing advocacy, there is no greater fighting force than the NAHB's 205,000 grassroots members and their employees, their colleagues in housing-related businesses, their families, their friends, and their customers.
At the National Housing Center in Washington, NAHB members are supported by a staff of professional advocates trained to deal with housing's opponents on every front. They include lobbyists, attorneys, journalists, economists, land planners, environmental specialists, experts in construction and codes, and more. They are working with you and for you to ensure that housing receives the priority it deserves in every walk of American life.
Here are just a few of the NAHB's achievements that are the direct result of focusing our energies on strategies designed to carry the day for housing:
* Supported by a strong BUILD-PAC, the launch of a voter mobilization campaign in last fall's elections brought victory to pro-housing candidates in key congressional races.
* With NAHB leaders' and staff's tireless behind-the-scenes work on Capitol Hill, builders saw the rise of legislation enabling housing to lead the economy forward; to help President Bush achieve his goal of increasing homeownership among minority families; to help small businesses solve the problem of soaring health insurance costs for their employees; and to encourage greater energy efficiency in housing.
* We are laying the groundwork for a secondary market for residential acquisition, development, and construction loans.
* Construction defect laws, designed to make home buyers talk to their builders first before talking to their lawyers, are making giant strides in various state legislatures.
* On the environmental front, several favorable court decisions will enable communities to accommodate housing while they move to protect threatened or endangered plant and animal species.
* Our state and political operations team is helping local associations win ballot initiatives against unfair impact fees and no-growth initiatives.
* The housing finance and public affairs staffs have been working to refute media speculation about a housing price bubble.
* The NAHB continues to fight for cost-effective building codes and is successfully establishing the principle that affordability must be considered an essential part of the codes and standards process.
In the housing business, there is no such thing as fate; when we make advocacy our mission, we assure a bright future for housing. Advocacy is our strength, and it is the foundation upon which "Together We Build the American Dream."