Habitat SKKC makes a splash in the other Washington for Habitat on the Hill 2024 

Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat on the Hill 2024 kicked off Feb. 5 as a celebration of the Cost of Home Campaign’s successful five-year run. This is Habitat’s biggest advocacy event of the year, and our affiliate was proudly represented by our CEO Brett D’Antonio, Chief Development Officer, Amy Farrier, and two of our three Advocacy Team members, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ryan Donohue, and Advocacy and Policy Manager, Cliff Cawthon.

This year Habitat on the Hill included more than 400 attendees who converged on Washington D.C. to advocate for affordable homeownership and policies that support the entire housing continuum. The halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate buildings were flooded by Habitat advocates. Our Seattle-King & Kittitas County staff members were particularly active in meeting with the staff members of Representatives Jayapal, Smith, DelBene, Schrier, and Senators Murray and Cantwell. We shared stories about homeowners and repair recipients whose lives were changed by Habitat. 

Habitat’s national priorities were headlined by H.R. 3940/ S. 679, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which is a major bipartisan piece of legislation that will create the first Federal Tax credit to support affordable homeownership by covering the first 35 percent of development costs for home construction and its services projects which are priced at 80 percent of the national median housing price. This tax credit will significantly reduce the cost of building affordable homes for families in need. 

Habitat is also advocating for key investments in local projects, such as our new Columbia City developments in Seattle, our Miller’s Crossing development in Burien, and Stuart Meadows in Ellensburg! We teamed up with advocates from Habitat for Humanity International to advocate for national investments in affordable housing through the Self-Help Housing Opportunity Program (SHOP), the Home Improvement Program (HOME), and the US Department of Agriculture’s 502 Direct Loan Program. These key investments will accelerate the work that our affiliate and others in Washington State and throughout the country do every single day. 

Our delegation made a significant splash as we shared our noteworthy 2023 legislative victory with the Washington State Covenant Homeownership Account Act, presented by our Advocacy and Policy Manager, Cliff Cawthon. It was a first-in-the-nation achievement that will provide downpayment assistance and support for Washingtonians who were discriminated against in the housing market. We also had our new Advocate Training Program featured at the poster exhibit. Our new Advocate Training program trains homeowners, advocates, and repair clients on how to advocate for affordable housing and homeownership.

In our Washington, the work continues! To learn more about our Statewide advocacy and Local-County advocacy click here. Be sure to join our ongoing advocacy campaigns and support affordable housing by visiting our Action Center here. Together, we can build a world where everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live!

Advocate Activation!

Testifying: Sometimes we call on our advocates and/or partner families to share their stories at Habitat events or in front of elected officials or to provide testimony at public hearings!

Advocacy Campaigns: We often mobilize our advocates around campaigns where they send a letter to their lawmaker!

Seattle Housing Levy Campaign: For the housing levy, we organized and put together a support campaign under Yes For Homes. This saw us mobilizing our advocates to phone bank and text bank and help spread the word on the levy!

We also mobilized our partner families to help us put together a video campaign in support of the housing levy. See below!

Communication!

Monthly Newsletter: Every month, we put together an Advocacy Monthly Newsletter highlighting opportunities to advocate for affordable housing, events, Habitat news mentions and more! It’s a great way for us to stay in touch with our subscribed advocates and engage with them.

Advocacy Alerts: Every once in a while, say if we have a campaign we want to spread awareness about or we have a specific event we need our advocates to be at, we send out an Advocacy Alert. This could be an email or a text . When it’s an email, it’s a lot shorter than our regular newsletter and more to the point!

Texts: Texts are a super quick and easy way for us to communicate with our advocates. We send them campaign reminders, upcoming events and more!

Attached below is our November 2023 Monthly Newsletter for your perusal!

Acquisition of Advocates!

We make sure to make our advocacy as accessible as possible by providing many different ways to join the fun!

HabiChats: These are on-site short chats we have with volunteer groups + partner families telling them about what all it is Habitat does Advocacy-wise, why it’s important and how they can participate! It involves encouraging our volunteers and partner families to sign up for Advocacy Alerts using our text line.

‘Habitat’ to 231-HABITAT (231-422-4828): Our text line is one of the quickest ways we acquire advocates! All they have to do is text ‘Habitat’ to 231-HABITAT and it signs them us to join our SMS list and receive text alerts from us!

VolunteerHub: Many of our volunteers sign up via VolunteerHub so we capitalize on this by adding a tick box section on the sign up form giving people the option to opt in to our text alerts or join our email list! Since they’re already there, it’s an easy and effortless way to get people to sign up and 9/10 they opt into Advocacy alerts too!

Advocacy Training!

One of the many ways we grow and engage our advocacy base is through Advocacy Trainings. Hosted quarterly with both an in-person + a virtual option, our Advocacy Training is tailored to new potential advocates to educate them on the importance of advocacy and how to do it. We include fun games and activities and even have prizes to win (we work together with the Habitat Stores to provide store coupons and discounts as prizes!)

Interested in seeing one of our training slide decks? Use the link below to access our Summer 2023 Advocacy Training! You can even download it and turn it into your own!

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1fJbcxT8nEUcRTukZ9xTubU1j68RxdMJ_/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=117316195242402946388&rtpof=true&sd=true