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  • Eileen Zilch

5 Ways to Advocate for Affordable Housing in Your Community

We all know it to be true: affordable housing is a cornerstone of strong, thriving communities!

Affordable housing makes sure families and individuals have a safe and stable place to call home, which in turn promotes health, education, and economic stability. 

As a nonprofit dedicated to building and rehabilitating affordable housing projects in Michigan, Community Catalysts is committed to making this vision a reality. 

Here are five impactful ways you can join us in advocating for affordable housing in Livingston County (and beyond!).

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the most hands-on (and rewarding!) ways to support affordable housing. 

Community Catalysts and similar organizations rely on the dedication and hard work of volunteers to build and rehabilitate homes. 

Here’s how you can contribute:

  • Construction and Renovation: Whether you’re a skilled tradesperson or a willing learner, there’s a place for you on our project sites! Help with tasks like framing, painting, landscaping, and more. No experience? No problem. We provide all necessary training and safety instructions.

  • Support Services: As we look into late 2024 and 2025, volunteers will also be needed to assist with non-construction activities such as organizing events, administrative tasks, and providing support to families moving into their new homes.

We know, we know: it might seem too easy to say that an afternoon can transform the outcome of a community Catalysts project. But truthfully, volunteering makes a tangible difference in the lives of others while also building community spirit and personal fulfillment. Sign up to volunteer with us HERE!

2. Donate

Financial contributions are crucial to the success of affordable housing initiatives. 

Donations help fund the construction and renovation of homes, as well as support various programs aimed at assisting families.

Here are some ways your donations can make an impact:

  • Construction Costs: Building materials, permits, and labor costs all require substantial funding. Your financial support helps us turn blueprints into housing.

  • Essential Services: Donations can support initiatives that offer much-needed support like transportation, job coaching, and financial education for families striving to achieve employment and, as a result, homeownership.

  • Operational Support: Running a nonprofit requires resources for advocacy, outreach, and education efforts. Your donations ensure that we can continue our mission effectively.

Every dollar counts, and your generosity can change lives! If you’re unable to give financially, consider donating items such as building materials, tools, furniture, or household goods.

3. Join a Work Group

Work groups or committees focused on affordable housing are essential for driving systemic change at the local level. 

In the winter of 2023, Housing Catalysts launched a variety of work groups to focus in on the most pressing housing needs in Livingston County. 

While these groups are currently established, there will be more opportunities in the future to join in. By joining a work group with Housing Catalysts and Community Catalysts, you can help shape the policies and initiatives that make affordable housing possible. 

Here’s how work groups make lasting impacts:

  • Policy Advocacy: Work groups develop and promote policies that support affordable housing, such as zoning changes, tax incentives, and inclusionary housing ordinances.

  • Community Planning: Work groups collaborate with urban planners, local officials, and community leaders to ensure that affordable housing is integrated into broader development plans.

  • Research and Analysis: These groups assist in gathering and analyzing data to support our advocacy efforts, identify housing needs, and measure the impact of our programs.

Participation in a work group can bring new ideas and perspectives, helping to drive meaningful change in your community!

4. Spread the Word

Raising awareness about the importance of affordable housing is key to building community support. 

Here are some meaningful, effective ways to spread the word:

  • Social Media: Use platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Twitter (currently X), and Instagram to share information about affordable housing issues, success stories, and ways to get involved. Follow and share posts from Community Catalysts to amplify our message!

  • Host Events: Organize community forums, workshops, or informational sessions to educate others about the need for affordable housing and how they can contribute.

  • Write and Share: Contribute articles or opinion pieces to local newspapers, blogs, or community newsletters. Personal stories and testimonials are powerful tools to highlight the real-life impact of affordable housing.

By becoming an advocate and raising awareness, you can help build a more informed and supportive community.

5. Get Involved

Active participation in local government and community organizations can amplify your advocacy efforts. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Attend Meetings: Go to city council meetings, rotary meetings, planning commissions, and housing authority sessions. Voice your support for affordable housing projects and policies!

  • Network: Connect with other advocates, community leaders, and policymakers. Building strong relationships can help create a unified front in support of affordable housing.

  • Vote: Support candidates and policies that prioritize affordable housing. Encourage others in your community to do the same.

Your involvement in local governance and community planning can directly influence decisions that affect housing availability and affordability in your area.

Before You Go…

Advocating for affordable housing requires a combination of time, effort, and dedication. By volunteering, donating, joining work groups, spreading the word, and getting involved, you can make a significant difference. 

Together, with Community Catalysts, we can build a Michigan where everyone has the opportunity to thrive in a safe, affordable home!

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