Yesterday, I was thrilled to attend the last day of the Housing California Conference in Sacramento. It was inspiring to be surrounded by people who deeply care about affordable housing issues. I attended 3 workshops with my favorite being the one on framing, messaging and communicating. These are my takeaways:
- People’s minds are not blank slates, our minds are powerful to fill in the blanks with what we already know. This is important because we need to consider people’s existing values when speaking to them about affordable housing.
- We need to move away from using terms like affordable housing, affordable units and instead use affordable homes, homes affordable to all, affordable place to live.
- A focus is needed on the beneficiaries of affordable homes – such as preschool teachers making $30,000 or young families just starting out. There needs to be a connection made to the individuals in need.
- Additionally there needs to be focus placed on the benefits of a whole community, such as safety, stabilization, and money spent back in the community.
- This is hard for affordable housing advocates, but to many housing is a consumer issue and we need to appeal to those values such as market failure and solutions that benefit all community.
- People are more likely to remember stories and not statistics, so either use quotes or use a messenger that has benefited from living in an affordable home or is in need.
My goal is to implement what I have learned in my every day work. If you have any tips or stories about messaging, please share in the comments.