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Raising the Voices of Residents One State at a Time

By NHT Community Engagement Coordinator, Arthur Smith


In late 2017, the National Housing Trust began a multi-state grassroots campaign entitled “Where Will We Live.” The campaign has three goals:

1.       Amplify the voices of residents;

2.       Build support for affordable housing legislation at the federal level; and

3.       Develop a cross-sector coalition of new affordable housing champions including individuals, organizations, elected officials, and other community members.

Capturing and Amplifying a Narrative

NHT’s Mobilization Team is meeting with affordable housing residents, property staff, maintenance crews and community members, visiting numerous states and Washington, D.C. During these meetings, we are learning their stories – their background, experiences, struggles, goals, and values. From these stories, we are beginning to understand the impact that stable housing has made in their journey.

These stories are being shared with elected officials, community members and the local constituents. These compelling narratives highlight how affordable housing directly impacts the lives of low-income families. These are not numbers, facts or figures; these are people -- nurses, students, immigrants, refugees and single parents.

Coalition Building

Capturing a narrative is only part one of the Where Will We Live campaign. Additionally, we will bring together and collaborate with a wide array of groups that will amplify affordable housing as a platform issue.

Through roundtable discussions, residents, multifamily housing owners, community leaders, cross-sector organizations and local officials can discuss the needs and concerns related not only to affordable housing, but greater community needs such as education, health, community development and safety. This multi-industry, cross-sector collaboration amplifies affordable housing as a platform issue in combination with other high-profile issues.

The lack of safe and healthy affordable housing is not a one-sector issue. We will raise the voices of those who are most impacted through a collaborative approach by education, health, and sustainability advocates. Affordable housing facts, figures and statistics inform us, but it’s the families whose lives are most effected who will take the fight to a level that cannot be ignored.

For more information, please contact NHT Community Engagement Coordinator Arthur Smith.