At its core, the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign is about getting various sectors
(i.e., education, health, civil rights, economic mobility, veterans)
to understand the importance of affordable housing, to acknowledge that their own goals are inextricably tied to affordable housing, and to prioritize federal policies that protect and expand affordable housing.
Our nation needs more educators to stand up and say that affordable housing helps their students thrive; more doctors to stand up and say that affordable housing “vaccinates” their patients from harmful health hazards; more economists to stand up and say that affordable housing stimulates growth and helps people climb out of poverty; and more criminal justice reformers to stand up and say that affordable housing enables solid transitions and prevents recidivism.
The broader the movement, the better our chances in achieving real policy change.
The ultimate manifestation of this occurs when non-housing organizations explicitly include affordable housing for low-income households in their own mission statements, stated priorities, and policy agendas. For example, each national multisector organization on the campaign’s Steering Committee, such as the National Education Association and Children’s HealthWatch, has formally included housing in their formal policy agendas.
We also want to see your organization explicitly prioritize affordable housing policies as a key concern and interest (if it hasn’t done so already). While the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign is primarily focused on federal housing policies, we’d also like to see non-housing organizations at the state and local levels explicitly include “affordable housing for low-income households” in their mission statements, stated priorities, and/or policy agendas.
Why Your Non-Housing Organization Should Join the Multi-Sector Movement
Most importantly, you should consider this because it’s likely in your organization’s own self-interest: given the deep intersectionality between housing and virtually all aspects of opportunity, codifying your organization’s interest in strong affordable housing policies will help your organization advance and achieve its own goals.
If your non-housing organization resolves to explicitly prioritize affordable housing for low-income people (and can provide us with evidence that you have done so), then the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign will:
Feature your organization’s name prominently on the Opportunity Starts at Home website
Send your organization a letter of recognition from the Opportunity Starts at Home Steering Committee
Feature your organization in the Opportunity Starts at Home monthly e-newsletter
Recognize your organization on social media (i.e., Twitter) from Opportunity Starts at Home and from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (which has over 11,000 Twitter followers).
Consider your organization being profiled in future campaign materials (i.e., videos, brochures)
These offers are open to any non-housing organizations at the federal, state, and local levels. The Opportunity Starts at Home campaign is about bringing new voices into the housing space and broadening the movement beyond housing advocates alone.
We understand that this could look very different from organization to organization. So, if your organization is considering this, or if your organization has already codified it, please let us know as soon as possible! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.