By Becky Collins
Influencing decisions within the political, economic and social systems and institutions is at the foundation of what the HBA of Greater Austin does for the home building industry and our members. The HBA advocacy program is what gives our members an influential voice at a local level in 30 municipalities and six counties, at a state-wide level with the Texas Association of Builders, and at a national level on Capitol Hill with the National Association of Home Builders.
Advocacy efforts include educating policymakers in regard to real world impacts of legislative and regulatory government actions, building successful coalitions, mobilizing grassroot efforts, keeping our membership informed on important issues and serving as a trusted source of information for the public.
As one of the fastest growing areas in the country, our homebuilders are experiencing a sense of urgency to meet the market demand. The need to achieve political support so that we can shape the current policy in a way that produces positive and effective codes, ordinances and development/approval processes is imperative to our vision that all people in the Greater Austin area live in strong communities and homes that enable them to thrive.
How to Support HBA Advocacy Efforts
Two ways in which our members can support HBA advocacy efforts are through the Issues Fund and HomePAC. The purpose of the Issues Fund is to provide financial support toward advocacy efforts, that aren’t necessarily political in nature. Historically, this funds independent research and studies, the formation of coalitions, contract lobbying for specific issues, public relations campaigns and additional advocacy bandwidth.
HomePAC is the HBA’s autonomous, non-partisan Political Action Committee. This is administered through a Board of Trustees and its purpose is to raise money to contribute to issues and candidate campaigns that are supportive of the home building industry. Having political influence is imperative to making a difference in the election process, and by combining resources, HomePAC can affect decisions at the city, county and state level by educating elected officials on issues that are important to our industry.
I am proud to share that the HBA has been recognized by the Executive Officer’s Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for Excellence for Best Local Government Affairs Effort. This national award recognized a collaborative initiative between the City of Austin and the HBA, in which the two joined forces to identify ways to improve administrative processes in the development process. Because of this partnership, creative solutions were developed that are mutually beneficial, reducing review times and regulatory hurdles for homebuilders and relieved staff of undue stress due to the complexities of the development process. David Glenn, director of government affairs and HBA CEO Carrie Ciliberto accepted the award at the NAHB’s Association Management Conference in mid-July. This award is proof that when we can work together with government, we can achieve great things.