Your voice can make a difference. Get involved.
HDC mobilizes our diverse coalition of members to take collective action on affordable housing issues. We send action alerts on critical issues, provide briefings at our membership meetings, and organize a cohort to attend the annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day in Olympia. Through participation in these activities, members multiply the impact of staff efforts and amplify the collective voice of our community.
There are many ways that anyone can be an effective champion for affordable housing on their own. Here are a few things you can do to advocate for affordable housing:
Remember to vote in every election. Your vote can make a difference for affordable housing. You can register to vote online. Voter registration forms are also available at public libraries, public schools, community service centers, fire stations, and at the League of Women Voters of Seattle. You may also download and print forms in several languages. Click here for more information on voter registration in King County, including detailed information on how to register if you have a non-traditional address or are experiencing homelessness.
Use Messages that Work
These messages, developed by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, are based on research in focus groups and a statewide survey and are proven to work. By framing affordable housing in terms of closely held values, these messages help convince Washington voters to support affordable housing. Use one or all of these messages in conversations with legislators, letters to the editor, comments on blogs, and anywhere you want to be effective in making your case.
- Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
- It should be possible for working people to afford housing and still have enough left over for the basics like groceries and gas and childcare.
- Children deserve a chance to succeed in school and in life, which all begins with their families being able to afford a decent place to live.
- It’s better for society, the environment and families if people can afford to live close to where they work.
Contact your Elected Officials
Hearing from constituents often makes the difference when it comes to actions taken by your elected representatives. You can call, email or meet with your local officials, council members, state legislators and congressional representatives. These contacts can be productive ways of affecting the availability of affordable housing in your community. Keep in mind these tips when contacting an elected official:
- Identify yourself, where you live and if you represent an organization. If you live in their district, identify yourself as a constituent.
- Tell them why you are contacting them. Be specific about what you want them to do. For example, start your letter with, “I’m writing to ask your support of Senate Bill 0000 on housing for seniors.”
- Keep it short. Support your position with accurate facts, reasons and personal experiences.
- Be polite and constructive. Thank them.
Write a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the editor in newspapers are one of the most highly read sections of the newspaper. They are usually written in response to a story that has recently appeared in the newspaper, so timeliness is important. They’re an excellent way to generate public dialogue on an issue.
- Have a point and make it quickly.
- Be creative
- Write from a personal perspective.
Try to directly reference a story from that paper. Maximum length is usually 200 words. You may mail, fax or e-mail your letter, but letters must include your full name (no initials), home address and daytime and evening telephone number(s) for verification.
For tips on submitting your letter to local media outlets, click on the image to the right.
Encourage your Board to Get Involved
Do you serve on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization working on issues related to homelessness and affordable housing? Board member advocacy is smart, simple and strategic – and it can make a big difference for communities for years to come. Visit the Board Advocacy Project, a project led by Common Ground, supported by HDC and funded by the Campion Foundation, to find out how you can be a Board Member advocate.