SITE VISIT 

If you manage or work with an affordable housing property, shelter, assisted living property, or other development that has used federal housing funds, consider hosting a site visit and tour for your elected officials. This will allow officials to see the property and meet residents, helping them to better understand the impact of federal investments in housing on a personal level. 

GETTING STARTED

  • Choose a time and location for your event; make sure guests will have access to bathrooms, water, and a place to rest in air conditioning if you anticipate hot weather.

  • Recruit other organizations to host the site visit with you; even if the event is at your property, other local groups should be on hand to support your call for increased federal investment in affordable housing. Expect organizational differences, but unite the groups around the importance of homes that are affordable and the need to invest in them.

  • If there is a resident council, make sure to engage them in the planning process. If they haven’t yet heard of Our Homes, Our Voices Week of Action, let them know about the national movement and the role of local events like this one. Ask for their help planning the visit.

  • Contact your elected officials’ offices and ask to speak with their scheduler. A template for inviting your members of Congress to your event is available for your use.

    • Explain that you work with an organization dedicated to providing homes that are decent and affordable and that in conjunction with the national Our Homes, Our Voices Week of Action, you would like to host the official and their staff at your site so they can meet residents and better understand what affordable housing looks like in your community.

    • If they tell you your elected official is not available, ask that a staff member come in their place. 

SHARING THE EVENT

  • If your event is open to the public, create a Facebook event explaining the need for investments in homes that people can afford and the reason for the Week of Action. Include details about the time and place and how advocates can engage from home if they so desire.

  • Work with your elected officials’ press secretary to coordinate media contacts in advance of the site visit. Use the event and the presence of your local official to raise awareness for the need for affordable housing.

  • Task a member of your team with taking pictures of the event, making sure to post them to social media with the hashtag #OurHomesOurVoices. 

PLANNING LOGISTICS

  • Work with resident council leaders or the property manager to identify residents who would be interested in sharing their stories and/or providing a tour of their home on the Week of Action.

  • In the days leading up to the event, ensure any organizations you have coordinated with know the plan for the day, and consider sending a site map or other materials to your elected official’s office if there is not a clear meeting place. Consider reaching out to any offices that declined your invitation to again invite them to the site visit. Work with the property manager to ensure the site is looking its best.

  • Plan a clear path around the property or neighborhood, considering what key areas you would like to show and where might be convenient places to take breaks. If you intend to cover a large area, consider driving from place to place. Make sure to have a plan for who in your group will drive the official and prepare this person to share about the property while with your official.

  • On the morning of the event, bring refreshments and plan to meet the officials as they enter the property. Share with them about the property and about the funding it has received from the city, county, state, and federal government. Provide them an opportunity to meet and learn from residents of the property. Be prepared to share information not only about your work, but also about the local and national affordable housing needs. Don’t shy away from explaining how cuts to the HUD and USDA-Rural Development property would affect the people you serve and those like them across the country. If they ask questions to which you don’t know the answer, promise to follow up with them.

AFTER THE EVENT

  • After the event, send an email thanking the official and their staff within 48 hours. Be sure to include answers to any questions that were raised. Also send a letter thanking them and including photos from the event. Ask them to continue to support affordable housing. If you hosted a Member of Congress, ask them to oppose cuts to the HUD and USDA budget and to expand resources for affordable homes.

  • If there were officials whom you invited who were unable to attend, send them pictures of the site visit and a letter summarizing the event and sharing stories from it.

Our Homes, Our Voices | National Housing Week of Action

C/O National Low Income Housing Coalition

1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC  20005

202-662-1530 | ourhomes@nlihc.org

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