Tammy Grubbs

The National Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit advocacy organization, has organized more than 20 events to occur in communities across the country on April 1, what they are calling a National Day of Action for Housing.

The organization’s website declares “WE WON’T BE FOOLED,” referring to the Trump administration’s recently proposed $6 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget. This would shrink public housing support and put an end to programs that provide meal assistance and clean-ups in low-income neighborhoods.

“We always need more money [for housing], especially for HUD,” said NCH Director Megan Hustings. “A $6 billion dollar cut will mean that people start to lose their vouchers.”

Both HUD Secretary Ben Carson and the White House refused to respond to the Washington Post’s requests for comment on the budget cut.

In response, NCH organized these events to send the message that lives are at stake when it comes to housing policy. Their answer is community action, starting with the advocacy day. Issues on their agenda include discrimination against homeless individuals, the criminalization of homelessness and ensuring that resources such as Housing Trust Funds and safety net programs remain intact and untouched by politicians.

In the District, an 11 a.m. rally will be held at Freedom Plaza, situated between the White House and the Wilson Building. Several “teach-ins” are expected to follow, according to Hustings. These will be open conversations about local issues, such as affordable housing programs and the new bathroom bill.

“We’re going to have pretty good representation from folks in D.C. that have been homeless and are ready to lead discussions and answer questions about their experience and what resources we need,” Hustings said..

A handful of people plan to setup tents and stick around for an overnight vigil in the square.