15-1 NLIHC’s Collective 2023-2024 Update

By Sid Betancourt, NLIHC

Members of NLIHC’s 2023-2024 Collective have been hard at work connecting with one another, engaging in advocacy, and helping plan NLIHC events. The group first met during the second annual Collective Retreat on October 6-9 in Albany, Georgia, returning to the sacred grounds of the Resora on Cypress Pond, a property of New Communities, which was founded by the late Reverend Charles Sherrod and his wife Shirley. The Sherrods were revered civil rights trailblazers, instrumental in creating the first community land trust (CLT) in the U.S. The Resora is now used for retreats devoted to promoting racial equity, learning, and community. Members of this year’s Collective (previously known as the Tenant Leader Cohort) gathered to discuss their shared goals for achieving housing justice and to engage in community healing in preparation for their upcoming work.

This year’s Collective includes 13 advocates:

Ramona Ferreyra, Save Section 9

Miracle Fletcher, housing commissioner with the City of Atlanta

William E. Higgins Jr., executive director of Homeless Advocacy for All

Tara Madison, National Alliance of HUD Tenants

Sharon Norwood, housing justice organizer with Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance

Taylar Nuevelle, executive director of Who Speaks for Me?

Daniella Pierre, president of NAACP Miami-Dade Branch

Robert Robinson, special advisor, Partners for Dignity and Rights, and adjunct professor of urbanism at New School University in New York City

Dee (Derris) Ross, founder and CEO of The Ross Foundation

Vee Sanchez, Empower Missouri

Marsh Melody Santoro, tenant leader with Fairview Arms Apartments

Albert Townsend, National Alliance to End Homelessness

Shannon (Sunshine) Washington, Sunshine Charity Community Investment Coalition and Sunshine Tenant Authority Patrol and Support

Facilitators such as Rebeccah Bennett of Emerging Wisdom LLC & InPower Institute and Dr. Jennifer Mullan of Decolonizing Therapy provided valuable insights, guiding the Collective in understanding the importance of community healing, trauma-informed care, and crisis intervention in their organizing work. During this time, members also had the chance to reflect on their visions for housing justice. Following these activities, the Collective gathered at Vicks Estate, owned by Albany local Clinton Vicks. Mr. Vicks prepared a delightful Southern barbecue meal that left everyone’s stomachs satisfied.

The restorative weekend offered a space for reflection by Collective members, inspiring them for the work ahead. Over the next several months, the Collective will convene to discuss shared concerns, chart an advocacy path, and ensure that NLIHC addresses the needs of low-income individuals and families nationwide.

In the months following the retreat, members of the Collective actively formed Community Agreements to strengthen their organization. They also collaborated with NLIHC staff to plan the Tenant Session at NLIHC’s Housing Policy Forum 2024, ensuring the event met the needs of low-income tenants across the country. Additionally, they remain actively involved in shaping NLIHC’s policy priorities.

Stay tuned for more information on how to join the next cohort of the Collective this summer. If you have any questions about getting involved in NLIHC’s tenant-led work, please email Sid Betancourt at
[email protected].