Where to Start
Start with planning.
Waiting until an affordable housing development is proposed in the community to discuss housing needs can be a difficult time to start the conversation. Beginning with a housing needs analysis and implementation strategies can create a roadmap for your housing efforts. Plus, it can provide guidance for developers interesting in building in your community. See the guide on Assessing Local Needs for more information.
Task a new or existing local entity with responsibility to build local support.
Is there an existing local entity or opportunity to create a new entity to spearhead and organize ongoing efforts to raise community awareness and build local support for housing initiatives? Affordable housing partnerships/committees, municipal affordable housing trusts, or other such entities will most often fill this role.
When to start?
There is not one ideal time to begin actively building support, but sometimes you can strategically capitalize on awareness caused by certain situations create a momentum for your efforts. For example, some communities have used the momentum of community awareness generated by a community master plan or housing plan effort, when faced with a controversial development proposal, or when considering zoning amendments related to housing.
But, efforts to build support for housing, no matter when or why they begin, can often require many years, even decades, to actualize actions; therefore, it’s important to maintain perspective with a long view.
Foster ongoing community awareness.
Make it easy to learn about housing in your community. Implement a local public awareness campaign to build and maintain support for affordable housing initiatives. Clearly articulate local housing needs and actively raise public awareness about local housing initiatives. An informed community can help build support for future housing initiatives.