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July 25

Getting Candidates on the Record on Housing and Homelessness!

Thank you to everyone who joined Monday's (7/25) Our Homes, Our Votes webinar: Getting Candidates on the Record on Housing and Homelessness!

Too often, affordable homes are left out of the public debate leading up to elections. To elevate housing solutions on the national agenda, candidates for elected office must understand that the issue of affordable housing is important to voters. The most recent Our Homes, Our Votes webinar explored the most common methods to get candidates to discuss housing solutions on the record – including candidate questionnaires, forums, and town hall meetings – and the importance of nonpartisanship in nonprofit organizations’ candidate interactions. The discussion also featured creative ideas for social media and conventional media engagement with candidates.

Lisa Chapman, director of public policy at Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH), presented on MCAH's electronic questionnaires to candidates for local, state, and federal office. These surveys ask candidates about their knowledge, views on housing, and homeless response priorities. Lisa also shared how MCAH connects with local clerks and other sources to increase communication with candidates. In addition to publishing the candidate questionnaire, MCAH also hosts town halls with partners, interacts with candidates via social media, and produces resources to help advocates engage with candidates.

Israel Bayer, director of the International Network of Street Papers North America, discussed how to use the media to get candidates to speak up about housing and homelessness. Israel shared innovative strategies for local media and community organizations to engage candidates on housing and homelessness, including candidate visits to editorial board staff, meetings with local reporters, interviews in local newspapers or radio shows, Letters to the Editor that press candidates to get more involved on housing and homelessness, and live-tweets of candidate interviews or other events. Israel also emphasized the power of individuals with lived experience to affect media coverage of housing and homelessness, which can reshape the way that candidates view and discuss these issues. 

Resources Shared on the Webinar

  • Israel Bayer, International Network of Street Papers North America

  • Email: 

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