One strategy in those situations is to “get in early and
engage the communities” with facts, Hikida noted.
“We help them understand our residents are people
like they would find in any other apartment building.
In many cases, these people already live and work in
When there is opposition, Hikida added, “It’s really
important to listen to what the critics say, and then decide
how to respond. We want to hear what they’re worried
about before we tell them what we’re going to do. That’s
the only way it will resonate with them.”
Being among the first to communicate the need
for housing affordability was a key factor in the
“Affordable=Achievable” campaign by the Fort Collins,
Colo., Board of REALTORS®. Clint Skutchan, CEO and
director of REALTOR® & Consumer Advocacy, said, “We
believe it is better to be one of the first to start this conversation, rather than reacting to other events.”
The pro-active effort began four years ago, growing out
of a “Protecting Our Housing Future” campaign. “The
fact that we were talking about this years before the general population noticed [the issue] gives us tremendous
credibility,” Skutchan added. “We can help lead the larger
conversation, rather than simply us saying ‘no’ to this
regulation or that proposal.”
Skutchan continued, “Our messaging began with the idea
that we wanted to talk about more than just affordable
housing.” Affordable=Achievable focuses on median wage
earners “who are getting priced out of our market, as is
also happening in other markets across the country.”
He noted the needs of homeless and low-income groups
are addressed by “a lot of great nonprofits” in northern
Colorado, so his members decided to focus on wage earners who were having trouble affording homes.
“Not everyone’s client can buy a $1-million-plus home,”
Skutchan continued. “Our general membership wants
to make sure they have access to a diverse base of clients who can purchase homes here. So we’re broadening
Our messaging began with the
idea that we wanted to talk about
more than just affordable housing.
Courtesy of BRIDGE Housing
The National Housing Conference
has a variety of toolkits that assist
in effective messaging, such as
a myths and facts report.