Can’t Join Housing Opportunity Day? Participate by Phone or Email!

Can’t join us on Housing Opportunity Lobby Day? You can still participate! On February 6th, set aside just 10 minutes to call or email your Legislator about the need for emergency rent assistance.

We know everyone deserves a safe place to call home. We believe in an Oregon where families and neighbors are supported in times of crisis, and given opportunities to get back on their feet.

Here are some step-by-step instructions:

First: Find out who your State Representative and Senator are: Find their contact information – either an email address or a phone number.   If you call, chances are you’ll get their Legislative Assistant or their voicemail. Feel free to leave a message or talk to their Assistant.

Second: Tell them who you are.  Introduce yourself. Tell them where you live in their district.

Next, in one or two sentences, briefly share the problem you see – a lack of safe, stable and affordable housing, too many people experiencing homelessness in your community, families needing emergency rent assistance, or a quick fact.

If you don’t have your own story of need, feel free to use one of these sentences:

  • Today, too many Oregon families have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table. More than eight in 10 Oregon families with the lowest incomes pay more than half their income for housing.
  • Last school year, nearly 20,000 school children in Oregon were homeless at least once during the school year, and nearly one in four Oregon children lived in poverty in 2011.
  • A worker earning minimum wage in Oregon had to work more than ten hours a day, seven days a week just to afford a two bedroom apartment in Oregon.

Next, use a value statement talking about the importance of having a safe, stable place to call home. Some examples are below, or you can write your own. Try to use values like opportunity, safety, protection, etc.

1. Hardworking people should be able to afford housing and still have enough money for groceries and other basic necessities.
2. Children deserve an opportunity to succeed in school and life, which is tied to having a stable home.
3. Housing gives people an opportunity to build better lives. To succeed you need a place to call home.
4. It’s only fair that everyone has a safe, decent place to live.

Now, it’s time to propose a solution. Below are some sentences you can use in your letter, or to help you get started.
– We have two programs – the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and the State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP) that provide short term assistance to help prevent or end homelessness. EHA and SHAP also help people who are homeless or fleeing domestic violence to quickly enter safe, stable housing. We can prevent or end homelessness for thousands of Oregonians. We need to make sure that programs that help provide the basics – housing and food—are fully funded.

Ask for what we need.
– Please add back $2 million to the Emergency Housing Account and the State Homeless Assistance Program for the rest of this biennium. With these critical funds, we can prevent or end homelessness for an additional 1300 Oregonians across the state.

Last, thank your Legislator for their service to our state!

Just one more step! Email Alison and let her know who you called or emailed, and whether you got a response!