Community Voices Academy

The Community Voices Academy (CVA) provides a space for low-to-moderate-income (LMI) Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who have lived experience to obtain tools, training, and resources that will assist them in conveying their perspectives and achieving their policy and advocacy goals. The CVA works in partnership with CNHED’s public policy team in developing solutions, budget recommendations, and tackling other issues facing the community development field.

The CVA serves as a vital liaison between CNHED, our members, and the residents most impacted by the District’s budget and policy choices surrounding affordable housing and community economic development. As trusted advocates within their communities, CVA members are able to cultivate, motivate, and engage their neighbors to take action on issues that impact them the most. CNHED takes pride in our partnership with residents and community leaders and is committed to directly integrating their voices into our organizational and policy decision-making process.


For over 10 years, the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) has partnered with District residents with lived experiences. This partnership is an integral part of guiding our grassroots advocacy and works to educate and empower community networks to advocate for themselves and their neighbors. 

The CVA is the core of CNHED’s commitment to engaging LMI BIPOC communities directly, helping to build trust within communities, and serve as a liaison between BIPOC residents, member organizations, and the District government.




Learn Skills

Participate in a custom curriculum within our Training Institute designed to inform, empower, and support CVA members throughout the year

Engage Decision-makers

Provide insight on priorities and testify during public hearings on issues important to you

Change Systems

Collaborate with public officials, local groups, and CNHED in developing solutions to community economic development inequity

Goal #1

Include the voices of LMI BIPOC residents with lived experience in CNHED’s development of legislative, regulatory, budgetary, and policy advocacy

Goal #2

Provide CVA members with advocacy training and access to experts, resources, and policymakers to help them tackle housing and economic development issues in their communities

Ready to Apply?

The Community Voices Academy accepts applications starting in July of each year. Working group members are expected to serve for 10 months, from September through June, and will be compensated for their time. Please be sure to review the eligibility requirements and expectations of working group members before applying.

We can’t wait to work with you!


  • Have direct experience with homelessness, housing insecurity, and/or workforce development programs;
  • Must be 18 years or older;
  • Live in Washington, DC;
  • Be able to commit 6.5 hours per month (for 10 months) to attend the working group meeting and complete working group tasks, training, and advocacy activities.
  • Be reachable by phone and email;
  • Be able to read, write, and effectively express their thoughts, ideas, and experiences in English
  • Have their own computer, internet connection, and/or other means of engaging digitally; and
  • Be able to comfortably navigate, without assistance, online and digital tools such as email and Zoom

Member Benefits

  • $200 Monthly stipend
  • $500 End-of-service award
  • Advocacy and leadership training
  • Network and build relationships with decision-makers
  • Serve as a representative of your community
  • Access to experts, research, and other resources
  • Gain experience in creating, managing, and executing an advocacy project

Become a member of CNHED today

and join the fight for a District where all residents can live in thriving communities that are racially, economically and socially just!

Become a Member

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