Tips for First-Time Advocates

I’ve never testified at a City Council meeting before and it seems scary. Help!

Don’t stress! Here are some tips for first-time advocates:

Step 1: Think about what you want to say. Feel free to use the template below, or come up with something entirely your own. You will have 2-3 minutes to speak.

Step 2: Find out when and where your City Council meeting is going to be held. Make a plan to bring a friend!

Step 3: Check the agenda ahead of time so that you’ll have some idea of when in the meeting you will be able to speak.

Step 3: Show up to the meeting early. There should be a sign-in sheet available when you get there – you’ll need to sign up to testify.

Step 4: When your name is called, step up to the mic! Make sure you introduce yourself. Some Councils might ask for your street address if you are a constituent.


  1. Hello, My Name is ________________, and I live/work (pick one or both) in _(insert city here)__.
  2. As an EHAC Member, Eastside resident, Eastside employee, person concerned about homelessness and affordable housing(pick one or multiple) I am here tonight to thank the City of _________ (insert city you are commenting to) for participating in ARCH (A Regional Coalition for Housing).
  3. Insert statement about why affordable housing and homelessness is so important to you and to the eastside or tell a success story of someone served in your ARCH funded program.Example: As an employee for an east side service provider, I see homeless families from the east side every day, and I can tell you that the need for programs funded through ARCH is continuing to grow.  This is why ARCH funding is so critical in this budget cycle.
  4. Again, thank you for your support of affordable housing and homelessness programs through ARCH funding, and please increase funding for ARCH in this year’s budget.

Other messages you could add:

  • ARCH Housing Trust Fund dollars help create and support jobs on the east side.
  • It should be possible for working people to afford housing and still have enough money for the basics like groceries and gas and child care.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
  • Children deserve a chance to succeed in school and in life, which all begins with their family 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.