Season’s Greetings AFHA Members, Families, and Partners!
As 2023 approaches, I find myself astonished at the level of compassion, tenacity, and knowledge I have had the privilege to experience from our team, partners, military families, mentors, and supporters of Armed Forces Housing Advocates. To say I am grateful would be an understatement.
More heartening than that is the steadfast support you all have given to ensure we are able to continue our mission of advocating that military members and their families have access to safe and habitable housing-the fact that this is a daunting and thankless task is not lost on me. With long hours of volunteering, fear of retaliation, economic hardships, and experiencing your own military housing issues, you have all remained resolute in building up our ability to help thousands of military families across the nation. Among these efforts that we worked tirelessly on, and will continue to do so next year, include:
Next year, AFHA will continue to enact meaningful change by "getting into good trouble, necessary trouble" as Representative Lewis once said – to continue moving the needle on rebuilding the Military Housing Privatization Initiative with solutions that protect military families across the nation.
We became "trouble makers" when we opened nearly 20 months ago in several ways. We used our advocacy work to leverage the voices of national leaders and partner organizations to publicly disrupt policies and practices that negatively affect the lives of our service members and their families. We also stood our ground as we took on machines far larger than our nonprofit, firm in our commitment to protect the families that come to us for help. Finally, as a military housing advocacy coalition leader, AFHA activated its learning series in 2022 for advocates featuring sessions and certifications focused on disability rights, diversity and equity, water restoration, mold remediation, best practices for mold and asbestos occurrences, Tenant Bill of Rights violations, and the dispute process.
In 2023, AFHA will continue its advocate education councils to continue these and other meaningful conversations. We are also excited to begin conducting our new research in the following areas for report to Congressional offices:
As a disruptor in the military housing space, while AFHA has had successes, we have taken some blows in 2022, which was expected. The Military Housing Readiness Council Act, though supported fervently by dozens of legislators on both sides of the aisle, was effectively demolished. While painful to learn, as the National Defense Authorization Act is coming to a place of completion, we understand that the "Council Act" would have allowed the curtain to be pulled back on the MHPI program-an action we feel was alarming to all those involved. That said, we will not stop fighting for true third-party oversight of this program, we will continue to provide solutions for problems we find, and we will not be silenced in the process.
Financially, like many grassroots nonprofits across the country often challenged with financial uncertainties, AFHA continued to examine how it conducts business and verify its viability through sound fiscal practices. Through the efforts of our finance team, AFHA will complete their first audit and will be poised for growth in 2023. We will remain a fully volunteer force for 2023, making certain all grants, donations and other funding resources will go straight back to AFHA's programs and operations.
In continuing to maintain a high level of engagement, AFHA worked tirelessly to engage with our social media channels, and create informative and entertaining content for viewers, particularly on TikTok. We have also begun sending the first series of monthly newsletters to our subscribers and will continue to do so throughout 2023. Our website remains an excellent resource of information and we will shortly begin utilizing Youtube as another platform for education. We also hope to come together in person next year for an event to connect with military families, supporters, and partners.
In closing, I remain rooted in hope and perseverance-I know that we will continue to persist in our mission because we have already come so far. I know it because the AFHA team is one of the most industrious and formidable groups of people I have ever had the honor of guiding. And I know we will persist because readiness starts with a safe home.
Thank you to all, and I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays. We will see you in 2023-you can't bury us.
Armed Forces Housing Advocates