How you can help

Your advocacy to increase access to stable, affordable housing is needed now more than ever. The significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout are still unfolding and the number of families struggling to afford their cost of home continues to grow.

To advance its advocacy agenda, Essex County Habitat encourages our volunteers, donors, friends and supporters to contact their elected representatives to share the impact that safe, sustainable and affordable homes have on millions of Americans each year and urge responsible policies that will address the serious lack of affordable housing.

Use your voice

Let your voice be heard. Speak at local meetings when they’re on the agenda. Call your local and state elected officials and let them know you believe affordable housing should be a priority and why.

People who attend neighborhood meetings, zoning hearings, and similar public forums do not necessarily represent the opinions of the broader community. They are typically older, wealthier and against the issue. We want to be sure that the opinions of those in favor are heard as well. We urge you to speak at local meetings when affordable housing issues are on the agenda. Click here for some helpful tips for speaking at a public hearing or town meeting.

Additionally, you can meet with or call your local or state elected officials to let them know affordable housing is an issue you and your community care about. Explain your thinking and what you want to see happen, focusing on the issues at hand. Try to be solutions-oriented. Listen respectfully to the response, ask clarifying questions, and find common ground.

Use your words

The written word can be more powerful than the spoken. Whether through an email or a good old fashion pen on paper letter, write to your local and state elected officials to ask them to support affordable housing.  Click here for some suggested language.

Submitting a letter to your town’s Planning Board, Council, or Select Board or sharing your housing story in a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper are just a few more ways to advocate for the issue.

If you would like to show your support of Massachusetts’ proposed Housing Bond Bill, the Affordable Homes Act, click here for suggested language specific to it. (To read a summary of the initiatives in the Housing Bond Bill, click here.)

Use your numbers

Spread the word about the importance of affordable housing with your friends and family. Find like minded neighbors to get involved with a local affordable housing coalition or YIMBY group. Attend a meeting, rally or other event together. After all, there is strength in numbers.

Find your elected officials

Don’t know who your elected officials are? We can help:To find your state representative, click here to look up what district you live in, then cross reference your state representative here.

To find your state senator. click here to look up what district you live in, then cross reference your state senator here.

To find your town’s select board/city council members or planning board, search “city of” or “town of” then your town name.