Campaign for Housing and Civic Engagement

 

The Campaign for Housing and Civic Engagement (CHACE) is a statewide campaign to raise awareness of housing issues among candidates for elected office. Spearheaded by the Virginia Poverty Law Center and the Virginia Housing Alliance, CHACE launched in 2017 in coordination with the Housing Week of Action, a nationwide effort sponsored by Our Homes, Our Voices. CHACE is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates.

In its third election season, CHACE is eager to ensure that housing affordability is part of the conversation for all 140 seats of the Virginia General Assembly on the ballot this November. As was done in the past two election cycles, CHACE will meet with candidates in competitive races to discuss the importance of housing affordability to the well-being of the Commonwealth, and share issue briefs including housing policy priorities and district fact sheets. When it can be arranged, CHACE steering committee members and housing partners will offer candidates the opportunity to tour an affordable housing community.

Recently, CHACE conducted an online survey asking housing advocates throughout the Commonwealth to rank housing policy priorities. The responses determined the issue briefs that will be created to share with candidates. The 272 survey responses identified the following policy priorities most important to advocates: Permanent Supportive Housing/Supportive Services; Eviction Prevention/Diversion; Expanding Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund; creating a Virginia Low Income Tax Credit program; and Land Use/Inclusionary Zoning. CHACE will incorporate some of the lower ranked policies into the priority issue briefs. Descriptions for each of the policy priorities are ranked here.

The goal for CHACE is for housing affordability (quality homes that meet the budgets of Virginians at all income levels) to become a priority for candidates and current elected officials.  CHACE works to achieve this goal by informing those running for elected office about  housing needs and policies, and showcasing affordable housing communities owned and/or operated by CHACE partners. CHACE also asks candidates to make housing affordability a platform issue on their website, and sample language is provided. 

In this election year, help CHACE connect with your candidates in your district and urge them to make housing affordability a campaign priority. Share CHACE’s sample platform language packet with them. You can also ask housing related questions at candidate forums. Keep an eye on the CHACE website for upcoming dates and opportunities to ask housing related questions.