Advocating for Affordable Housing
As a leader in the affordable housing movement, CCH joins with other organizations advocating for more available housing to address the housing crisis in our nation today. CCH and other community partners have long provided a platform to discuss pertinent issues ranging from homelessness to the inadequacy of affordable housing, especially for the elderly and the under-served in our communities. Confronting these societal issues can be formidable and requires many individuals and organizations working together to pass legislation and programs to address this critical need.
Advocacy can take many forms, from letter writing, public comment, social media and other endorsements. Public comment is one of the most impactful ways for individuals to reach their legislators and to have their voices heard. Yet speaking before a legislative body, whether in person or online, can be very daunting, especially for first timers. Below are some helpful suggestions when preparing to provide public comment:
- Plan Your Comments – Organize your thoughts in your head before speaking. This does not mean necessarily writing down your comments and reading them, but determining how to give statements that are concise, straightforward and to the point in telling your story.
- Know Your Alloted Time – The chair may limit the number of speakers and the time that each speaker may talk. If you are with a group, make sure members are not saying the same thing to the committee. Instead, make sure comments are concise and represent a different point of view or perspective of the issue being presented.
- Identify Yourself for the Record – Since all committee hearings are recorded, you should go through the chair. Begin by acknowledging the body and identifying yourself and the group you represent, if appropriate. For example, start by saying, “Madam chairperson, committee members, my name is John Doe and I represent CCH.” After introducing yourself, you can then give your comments.
- Tell Your Story – Speak your truth. Keep in mind that empathy, sympathy and stores of compassion are more compelling than simply reciting stats. Tone and inflection also are important and you should try to avoid overt anger. Relay what you are feeling. This is your chance to speak directly to your legislators and to humanize policies. Explain how policies or legislation will directly impact you. Keep in mind that while you may not single handedly change everyone’s hearts and minds, getting your side of the story out is an important step in how change begins.