Philanthropy across the country is funding research locally and nationally to understand how the public views homelessness and housing, its connection to structural racism and opportunity, and how to frame housing as a common good rather than solely a commodity.
This narrative must be focused on structural racism (not just race), incorporate the voices of those with lived expertise, and sync with the work currently happening to help departments and agencies have a cohesive message and narrative. This is a clear way for philanthropy and the administration to partner and expand on what has already been done instead of re-creating something new. Creating open pathways to share this research about housing justice narratives with HUD, USICH, and communications and public affairs staff at intersecting departments can help align how we frame housing and homelessness in productive ways with an intentional through line between the federal, state, and local levels.
Funders can come together and think about what narrative and messaging can be curated now around what evidence proves works share this with public affairs staff to push and gain support for equitable and just homelessness and housing policy. There may also be an opportunity to share these learnings by engaging junior public affairs staff, who often draft talking points and press releases, in a professional development or capacity building setting. Likewise, philanthropy can open the window of influence by providing the space and conditions for public affairs staff to convene with funders, researchers, people with lived expertise, and other community stakeholders to share lessons learned on messaging and who the best messengers are.