How do you bring housing issues to the forefront of elections while being non-partisan and not endorsing candidates?
“It’s not easy,” explained Samantha Kenny, government affairs director at Legislative Strategies Group (LSG) in Richmond. “It’s all about communication.”
As an example, Kenny cited the explanation about the importance of affordable housing to Virginia legislators.
“I serve on the Steering Committee for the Campaign for Housing and Civic Engagement (CHACE) because I think we can help move the needle in raising awareness of housing issues,” she noted.
CHACE is a collaboration between housing advocates and providers throughout Virginia with a mission to inform voters, elected officials, and candidates at all levels of government on the importance of quality homes for Virginians at all income levels.
“Recently, due to COVID, we have been trying to highlight the correlation between access to quality affordable homes and health. Housing is critical community infrastructure that affects the quality of life of Virginians in every corner of the state, yet rarely receives the attention it deserves on the campaign trail,” said Kenny. “Currently, we are working on letters to send to legislators to remind them of the need for funding housing needs during the pandemic crisis.”
Partners help in various ways, including signing on to a letter of support or press release, formulating and asking housing affordability questions at candidate forums, hosting a property tour for a candidate, representing their organization as a district constituent in candidate meetings, or serving on the Steering Committee.
CHACE launched in 2017 in coordination with the Housing Week of Action, a nationwide effort sponsored by Our Homes, Our Voices. CHACE is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.