Take action with us today for Our Homes, Our Voices!

By Jill Winsor

We need our Congressional Delegation to increase federal investment in affordable housing to help more Oregonians have a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. Over the years, federal programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have helped build and maintain affordable rental housing, and helped pay for rent assistance and services to help people experiencing homelessness. We know that right now, those resources do not meet the need – only one in four eligible families receives assistance from these critical efforts.

We need our federal government to help solve these problems – it’s going to take all of us, working together, to invest in our communities, to invest in affordable homes, and to create housing opportunity.

As part of National Housing Week of Action and the Our Homes, Our Voices Campaign, contact your Congress people to ask them to expand these proven programs to reach everyone who is eligible!

  1. First, find your Congressperson. Each Oregonian has one Congressperson – find yours here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
  2. Our US Senators are Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley. You can find their office information here: Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley.
  3. Will you call, email, or write a letter? They all work! Choose whatever is easiest for you. Many congressional websites also have an easy to use “contact us” form!
  4. Pick what you’d like to talk to your Congressperson and Senators about:
    1. Are you concerned about only one in four households being able to access help paying their rent through Housing Choice Vouchers? Housing Choice Vouchers mean families only pay a third of their incomes towards rent, which helps them be stable and means they can pay for other basic necessities, like food and medicine. More of our neighbors need this assistance, and we’d like to see Congress expand funding for Housing Choice Vouchers. Ask your Congress person to prioritize an expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher program in the FY 19 budget!
    2. Are you concerned about building more affordable housing? Affordable housing helps people access safe and stable housing. Far too few Oregonians can access this important resource, and we need more federal dollars to build more affordable housing. Ask your Congress person to continue expanding the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (and be sure to say thank you for the small expansion in the FY 18 budget omnibus bill!).
    3. What else are you concerned about? Check out this post (http://nlihc.org/article/presidents-budget-calls-drastic-cuts-affordable-housing ) to see what’s in the President’s FY 19 budget that concerns national housing advocates, and ask your Congress person to fully fund a program that you see working in your community!
  5. Figure out what you’d like to say.
    1. Tell them you’re a constituent, and share your town or neighborhood!
    2. Start with a sentence about why having a safe and stable home matters to you. Share one of our values messages: https://www.oregonhousingalliance.org/talking-about-home/.
    3. Share what’s happening in your community – share a personal story about the need for more affordable homes, or consider picking one fact from our county need sheetsfrom your community.
    4. Ask your Senators and Congressperson to act. Tell them about the issue you’re concerned about, and ask them to act to protect Oregonians struggling with housing instability.
  6. Thank them for their service!