What is Grassroots Advocacy?

 “Grassroots advocacy” describes people contacting their elected officials about important policy issues.

NAHMA staff conduct advocacy in Washington, D.C., year-round on affordable housing issues. We advocate for increased investments in federal housing programs and for strengthening tools to preserve and develop affordable housing across the country.

NAHMA supports our members as they participate in key advocacy activities (both in-District and in D.C.), including:

  • Meeting with lawmakers in DC or in your district;
  • Hosting an elected official or their staff at a property;
  • Participating in letter-writing or social media campaigns to lawmakers;
  • Attending a political event, like a town hall; and
  • Engaging your residents and staff in an activity, like story banking, letter writing, or video recording.

Why is advocacy important for our industry?

This is a critical time for affordable housing advocacy. As cost-burdens rise, meeting the housing needs of vulnerable populations becomes more urgent:

  • Throughout the U.S., more than 11 million low-income households pay more than half of their income for rent;
  • Three out of four low-income renters with housing needs remain unassisted;
  • Elected officials in DC and in your local districts may have limited knowledge about the positive impacts of affordable housing programs;
  • Funding debates are affecting affordable housing operations at HUD and USDA; and
  • Housing programs can be streamlined and improved with input from property management professionals.

Why should I get involved?

Among the first questions NAHMA staff are asked in legislative meetings are: “How does this affect my district;” or, “Who can I talk to in my district?” By getting involved, owners and property managers provide the human element that moves housing issues from concept to reality for members of Congress.

Property management professionals can:

  • Provide real-world experience from the front lines of our industry;
  • Help educate your Senators and Representatives on the work you and your staff do every day to make affordable housing communities run smoothly for vulnerable households; and
  • Humanize our industry and the communities you serve.

How do I get started with grassroots advocacy?

Advocating for affordable housing is simpler than you think, and your unique perspective is valuable to your elected officials. Legislators need to hear from property management professionals like you about why affordable housing matters to industry and community.

Whether in your area or in Washington, D.C., participation in grassroots advocacy for affordable housing is both simple and impactful. 

  • Urgent Grassroots Issues – View NAHMA’s “Urgent Grassroots Issues” page to learn about immediate advocacy actions
  • NEW! NAHMA Advocacy Toolkit – Access samples and templates for taking action!
  • Advocacy Resources – View NAHMA’s “Advocacy Resources” webpage to learn more about meetings with Members of Congress, hosting a tour at one of your properties, or planning a letter-writing campaign
  • NAHMA Grassroots Advocacy Task Force – Join NAHMA’s new “Grassroots Advocacy Task Force” to help advance the association’s position on federal legislation affecting affordable housing through grassroots initiatives. View our 2018-2019 Advocacy Timeline or contact us to join the task force. 
  • NAHMA’s Government Affairs Team – Questions about a policy or issue? Not sure where to start with advocacy? NAHMA is here to help. Simply email our Government Affairs team with questions.