RESULTS Weekly Update March 7, 2023
Quote of the Week
“The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is not just best for struggling families, it is best for the whole community.”
– RESULTS Phoenix volunteer Rayna Castillo in a February 12 letter to the editor the Arizona Daily Sun
- We need a Renter Tax Credit (RTC)
- Appropriations Dear Colleague letters now available
- Quick News on U.S. and Global Poverty
- Upcoming Events
- Grassroots Resources
We need a Renter Tax Credit (RTC)
An article in yesterday’s New York Times highlights the importance of your work on housing this year. It focuses on Cornelius Parker, a NYC man experiencing homelessness even after receiving a housing voucher to stay in his home. While the article explains that housing programs are a successful lifeline for many people, like anything in life they are not perfect. If a Renter Tax Credit (RTC) were available to Americans struggling to stay housed, perhaps some of the setbacks Mr. Parker faced could be avoided.
The biggest challenge for housing programs is not their design, but their funding. America’s largest housing assistance program, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is chronically underfunded by Congress. It currently serves only 25 percent of eligible renters, resulting in long wait lists for the millions seeking assistance. A RTC would not face this challenge. Because it is part of the tax code, eligible households would be guaranteed the benefit. A tax credit is an entitlement – once you qualify, you get it. And conceivably you would receive your credit once the IRS processed your tax return – no years-long wait lists.
Also, even when people get a voucher, many property owners won’t take them. Or renters can only find willing owners in less desirable parts of the community. Without a ban on source-of-income discrimination, property owners are free to reject a perfectly good tenant for using a voucher. Again, an RTC would reduce this risk. The RTC is claimed by the renter on their taxes. The tenant receives the credit from the IRS and then uses it to pay rent. This is not new. For years, Americans have used refunds from the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to pay housing costs, including rent. Property owners don’t know where the money came from; it’s just another rent payment.
It is important that the NYT piece not be read as an indictment against current housing assistance programs. Far from it. These programs provide much-needed relief to millions of Americans, and right now, they are the only thing available. But the article does show that we must do a better job finding multiple solutions to meet the diverse housing needs of our country.
Stable housing is the foundation of economic security. Without a place to live, life becomes unsafe. Too many people in our country face this crisis every day. Everyone has a basic human right to safe, affordable housing. A RTC is one tool to help get us there. Let’s talk about it with policymakers.
TAKE ACTION: Keep requesting lobby meetings to talk about a Renter Tax Credit (as well as an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC)). Use our Set the Agenda and Lobbying pages for materials to schedule and prepare for your lobby meetings. Ask for face-to-face meetings with lawmakers; the House will be on March 11-21 and both the House and Senate will be on recess April 1-16. For housing discussions, share our Renter Tax Credit policy brief and our brand new RTC video (2 min) with congressional offices. Your goal right now is to build support using the tax code to provide relief to renters, not to back a RTC specific proposal (that comes later). If you have questions, please contact RESULTS staff for assistance.
Appropriations Dear Colleague letters now available
Funding requests and Dear Colleague letters. These are two key tools for influencing the funding of crucial global poverty initiatives through the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations process. Malnutrition, tuberculosis, education, and maternal/child health . . . we can positively affect funding for it all, but only if we act now. All members of Congress can weigh in on global poverty appropriations by championing the funding requests we bring them and by signing on to new Dear Colleague letters which underscore these requests. We must create a chorus of support in Congress for our global poverty priorities. If you are having meetings soon as part of the Set the Agenda campaign, you can highlight appropriations during your meetings. If your meetings aren’t until later, submit your appropriations funding requests and Dear Colleague letter requests now and follow up during your meetings. Will you take action today? Deadlines are coming up fast.
TAKE ACTION: Work with your group to share our global poverty appropriations funding requests and Dear Colleague letters with Congress.
- Use our resources to submit our global poverty appropriations requests to your legislators. Our January and February Global Poverty Policy Forums will make the process clear. You will also find guides on our website which will help you in filling out the necessary appropriations request forms.
- Once you and your group have submitted your appropriations requests to your members of Congress and have asked them to weigh in, you can ask your legislators to sign Dear Colleague letters. Right now, House letters on global TB, global education, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are open for signature. More letters in both chambers will be available soon. Check out our blog to see which Dear Colleague letters are available, when the signing deadlines are, how to sign, and who has signed so far.
- Enlist others to amplify your work. You can encourage other advocates in your circle to support your advocacy by writing Congress about our global appropriations priorities. Send advocates this quick action alert aimed at Congress. Or use our February Action Sheet as the agenda for a local RESULTS meeting.
Quick News on U.S. and Global Poverty
Co-sponsors for the READ Act and the End TB Now Act needed! The READ Act (global education) Reauthorization Act has been reintroduced in Congress (S.41, H.R.681), and the End Tuberculosis Now Act (S.288) has been reintroduced in the Senate. Ask your legislators to co-sponsor today.
Ohio redlining case settled. As part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s nationwide initiative to combat redlining and address patterns or practices of lending discrimination, the Department secured a $9 million agreement to address an Ohio-based bank’ alleged discriminatory lending practices in the Columbus metropolitan area. Redlining is the practice of banks denying or restricting mortgages in neighborhoods with large communities of color (historically, they would draw a red line around them on a map).
Senate Democrats push President Biden on housing. Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Biden, urging his administration to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis. The letter doesn’t explicitly acknowledge the role the Child Tax Credit, Renter Tax Credits, and other similar benefits can play to address the crisis. You can read the letter here.
Top economist warns against debt default. Renowned economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s will testify before the Senate today warning that allowing the nation to default on its debts later this year will result in an economic crisis similar to the Great Recession, costing millions of Americans their jobs. House Republicans are demanding deep, unspecified spending cuts as a condition for raising the nation’s debt limit. President Biden, while willing to negotiate on budget items, has refused to negotiate on whether the U.S. will pay its debts. Mr. Zandi is also expected to say that the deep cuts proposed by House leaders could result in a recession.
From the archive. Maybe you have started meeting with your members of Congress this year but are already wondering how to deepen the relationships and move your legislators into leadership on our issues. If so, then we have the webinar for you! In our Training Resources archive, RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris leads us through a dynamic training on how to utilize the RESULTS Champion Scale. Take a look!
Media hook for the week. Use the hook ideas below to submit a letter to the editor this week. If you need a template, use our online media actions to edit and submit your letter today.
- U.S. Poverty: Tax time is in full swing. Use this as a hook to remind lawmakers to enact tax policies that help children and families out of poverty, such as an expanded Child Tax Credit and a new Renter Tax Credit.
- Global Poverty: March 24 is World TB Day, so now is the ideal time to write and submit a letter to the editor about supporting the fight to end this infectious disease of poverty. The Stop TB Partnership has resources you can use. Write today!
Register for March 16 monthly policy forums. Join us in March for our U.S. and Global Poverty Policy Forums. On the U.S. Forum, we will discuss how greater equity in the tax code can benefit children with Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection. On the Global Forum, with World TB Day on March 24, come hear an overview of our tuberculosis campaign and the opportunities we have to effect meaningful change this year. Both webinars are Thursday, March 16; the U.S. Forum is at 8:00 pm ET (register here) and the Global Forum is at 9:00 pm ET (register here).
Special Global Allies program on new date. This month, the Global Allies program bringing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) together with RESULTS will have its usual webinar on a new date and time. On March 22 at 8:30 pm ET, a special program titled How RPCV Advocacy will help Bring an End to Tuberculosis will be held in advance of World TB Day. The event will feature special guest speakers Virginia Nagy, Senior TB Program Manager of the Infectious Diseases Division at USAID and Kristi M. Mathis of We Are TB. RPCVs can register today.
RESULTS website accessibility. It is important to us that all the great information on the RESULTS website be accessible to everyone. In the bottom right corner of every web page, there is an orange accessibility icon. Click on it to open our accessibility menu (you can also open it by pressing CTRL+U) and make any adjustments you need to improve your experience using the RESULTS website.
March resources available. We have new resources for March available to you. Our March Outreach Action sheets are now available. They are great for letter-writing meetings. Also, if you missed the March National Webinar, it is worth a listen. The guest speakers were fabulous and many enjoyed the laser talk trainings. Find the recordings and slides on our National Webinars page.
Please complete your lobby meeting reports. As you continue to meet with your members of Congress over the next month, please be sure to complete our updated Lobby Report Form after each meeting. These reports help us better understand where lawmakers stand on the issues and help us strategize next steps to build support for our policy requests. If you need help completing the form, please contact us.
Congressional schedule. The House and Senate are in session this week.
Typically, registration ends one hour prior to the start of all webinars and trainings.
Wednesday, March 15: Action Network Managers Webinar, 8:00 pm ET (just one offering this month). Join at https://results.zoom.us/j/91531456676. No registration required.
Wednesday, March 15: New Advocate Orientation, 8:00 pm ET. Register today.
Thursday, March 16: U.S. Poverty Policy Forum, 8:00 pm ET. Register today.
Thursday, March 16: Global Poverty Policy Forum, 9:00 pm ET. Register today.
Tuesday, March 21: U.S. Poverty Free Agents, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. Contact Jos Linn for information on how to join.
Tuesday, March 21: Together Women Rise partnership webinar with RESULTS, 8:30 pm ET. Learn more.
Wednesday, March 22: New Advocate Orientation, 12:00 pm ET. Register today.
Wednesday, March 22: Media Office Hour, 2:00 pm ET. Join via Zoom at https://results.zoom.us/j/93668005494 or (312) 626-6799, meeting ID 936 6800 5494. No registration required.
Wednesday, March 22: Global Allies Program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, 8:30 pm ET. Register today.
Monday, March 27: Global Poverty Free Agents, 7:00 pm ET. Contact Lisa Marchal for information on how to join.
Friday, March 31: Anti-Oppression 201 Workshop – Structural Racism, 12:00 pm ET. It is recommended that registrants attend our Diversity & Inclusion 101 or have some significant background in anti-racism and implicit bias work before attending this 90-minute workshop. Read for more information and to register.
Saturday, April 1: Monthly National Webinar, 1:00 pm ET. Register today.
Learn about the RESULTS Experts on Poverty.
Remember to please report your recent advocacy successes in lobby meetings, media, and outreach activities. Also, use our Volunteer Information Form to add or edit volunteer info and to sign up for updates and alerts.