National Low Income Housing Coalition

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National Low Income Housing Coalition
Formation1974; 49 years ago (1974)
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Key people
Diane Yentel, executive director;
Cushing Dolbeare, founder

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending America's affordable housing crisis. It aims to expand and preserve housing for people with extremely low incomes.[1][2] NLIHC provides current information and data on affordable housing, and formulates policy and increases awareness on housing needs and strategies.[2]


NLIHC was founded in 1974 by Cushing Dolbeare, a housing policy analyst and consultant.[3][4] Initially named the Ad Hoc Low Income Housing Coalition and incorporated as the National Low Income Housing Coalition five years later, Dolbeare created the organization in response to Nixon's 1973 moratorium on federal housing subsidies.[3][5] To Dolbeare, the lack of affordable housing was for poor people a chronic problem with few available solutions. In the organization's first years, it operated out of Dolbeare's Capitol Hill home.[3][6] Similar interest groups at the time include the National Tenants Organization.[7]

Since the early years of the 2000s, NLIHC was active in leading housing advocates in the creation of a federally funded housing trust fund.[8] The National Housing Trust Fund was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. In 2016, the trust fund started providing grants to states to increase the supply of rental housing for extremely low income households.[9] NLIHC continues to advocate for increased financial support to the National Housing Trust Fund.[10]


Sheila Crowley, former coalition president (photo 2016)

Dolbeare headed the organization from 1977 to 1984 and 1993 to 1994.[3] In 2014, NLIHC commemorated its 40 years of operations with the announcement of a new leadership Council of former board chairs, executive directors, and founding members.[1] In 2016, Diane Yentel, who worked as an NLIHC analyst in her first Washington, D.C., job, became president of the organization. Yentel succeeded Sheila Crowley, who retired after leading the organization for more than 17 years.[11]


NLIHC has developed a national database on subsidized and federally assisted housing. HUD provides data on the number of rental assistance and insurance program it administers, which NLIHC combines with data on properties supported by the Department of Agriculture or low income housing tax credits.[12] Around the 1980s the coalition was affiliated with the Low Income Housing Information Service.[13]

The organization's annual publication, Out of Reach, developed a formula called the "housing wage" that spotlights the gap between income and housing costs.[14][9]  The widely cited report identifies the number of hours someone earning minimum wage would have to work to afford a two bedroom house in every jurisdiction in the country.[14][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The National Low Income Housing Coalition Commemorates 40 Years of Advocacy". 18 November 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b "National Low Income Housing Coalition". Common Dreams. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Fox, Margalit (24 March 2005). "Cushing N. Dolbeare, 78, Expert on Low-Income-Housing Policy, Dies". New York Times. New York. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Public Housing", New York Times, 1998, Web sites
  5. ^ "Dolbeare appointed as senior scholar". The Harvard Gazette. 31 January 2002. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Cushing Dolbeare". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ Guy C. Colarulli (1981). "Measuring Interests: Groups in a Policy Context". Polity. Northeastern Political Science Association. 13 (4): 722–740. doi:10.2307/3234649. JSTOR 3234649. S2CID 146858110.
  8. ^ Edson, Charles (2011). "Affordable Housing—An Intimate History". Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. 20 (2): 193–213. JSTOR 41429169. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b Serlin, Christine (23 September 2015). "Crowley Announces Retirement from NLIHC". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  10. ^ Andrews, Jeff (25 February 2020). "Low-income renters are struggling. Here's how Democrats plan to help them". Curbed. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b Kimura, Donna (16 February 2016). "Yentel Named NLIHC President and CEO". Housing Finance. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  12. ^ Bolton, Megan. "NLIHC and PAHRC Launch National Housing Preservation Database". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  13. ^ Rachel G. Bratt; Michael E. Stone; Chester W. Hartman, eds. (2006). A Right to Housing: Foundation for a New Social Agenda. Temple University Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-59213-433-5.
  14. ^ a b Schudel, Matt (19 March 2005). "Cushing N. Dolbeare Dies at 78". The Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved 1 December 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rochelle L. Stanfield (March 6, 1982), "Cushing Dolbeare Champions Low-Income Assistance", Washington Post. (Describes the coalition)
  • Sarah Slavin, ed. (1995). "National Low Income Housing Coalition". U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-25073-6.
  • Herbert J. Rubin (2018), "NLIHC and issues on affordable housing for lower-income individuals", Advocacy for Social Change, Routledge, ISBN 9781315121956

External links[edit]