Over the past few years, housing policy has emerged as a top priority for voters in state and local elections. The topic is now gaining traction nationally, with polling indicating that over eight out of ten Americans believe ensuring housing affordability should be a “top national priority.” The 2020 presidential election presents a critical opportunity to highlight the importance of affordable housing with candidates and voters, and work towards the implementation of policies to ensure everyone has a safe, stable, affordable place to live.
Enterprise is collaborating with partners to elevate housing in the 2020 presidential election through candidate and media engagement, but the best way to create change is for candidates to hear from voters like you. To help facilitate robust engagement, we have compiled some resources for people interested in lending their voice to the conversation on affordable housing, including tips on how to write and publish an op-ed, a twitter guide, examples of successful media engagement, and voter registration resources.
Traditional and Social Media Engagement
One of the most effective ways to raise the importance of affordable housing in national discourse is through traditional and social media. Op-eds in both national and local outlets, coupled with engagement on social media platforms, can educate both candidates and voters on this critical issue. Here are some tips on drafting and placing op-eds, examples of some that have been successfully picked up by outlets, and a toolkit for twitter and social media advocacy. Once you have placed an op-ed, don’t forget to share it with us so we can add it to our examples list!
Examples from Enterprise in the News
- Michigan Debate media placements:
- Jointly, Enterprise Vice President and Detroit Market Leader Melinda Clemons and State and Local Policy lead Evy Zwiebach bylined an op-ed, which was placed the day before the first debate in the Detroit Free Press
- Clemons was quoted in an article posted on MLive the same day the op-ed ran
- Houston CDBG-DR Op-Ed: Shortly after the 3rd DNC Debate in Houston, the city’s Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Enterprise Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Resilience Marion McFadden to write an op-ed published in The Hill calling for the permanent authorization of the Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery program
- Ohio Debate Op-Ed: Enterprise Vice President and Ohio Market Leader Mark McDermott published an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer calling on presidential candidates to foreground housing in national policy discussions by tying it to issues such as homelessness, health care costs, and systemic racism
- Georgia media engagement: Enterprise Vice President and Atlanta Market Leader Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic authored a blog emphasizing how Atlanta’s housing affordability challenges are a local issue playing out on a national scale, and called for presidential candidates to commit to increasing the federal resources available to address the problem
- Debate Coverage
- Housing in 2nd DNC Debate: Enterprise Policy Fellow for 2020 election engagement Chris Whitmer reported on what the candidates said about the importance of affordable housing on the stage in Detroit
- Housing in 5th DNC Debate: After NBC’s Kristen Welker asked the first question about affordable housing at any of this cycle’s presidential debates, Chris Whitmer posted a blog cataloguing the details of the candidates’ answers
Candidate Engagement and Campaign Policy Positions
Familiarizing yourself with candidate positions and then engaging candidates on the campaign trail around housing issues is another great way to lift up affordable housing in the election. Enterprise has released a list of recommendations for each candidate to consider as they draft housing platforms, and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s Our Homes, Our Votes: 2020 campaign provides a number of valuable resources, including a candidate tracker and voter and candidate engagement toolkit:
Voter Registration Information
Ultimately, affordable housing champions must be elected to implement public policy. Here is some information on how to make sure your voice is heard on election day:
The advocacy from affordable housing stakeholders is already paying off: many candidates have released detailed housing policy platforms and the fifth DNC debate featured a question about affordable housing. We look forward to working together to ensure that affordable housing is a key campaign issue in 2020. For continued coverage of housing proposals in the 2020 presidential election, sign up for our daily Today in Housing and biweekly Capitol Express newsletters.