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October 24, 2022

How to be a housing voter series: calling your representatives

By Liz Crouse

Hopefully by now, you’re registered to vote and you understand the importance of participating in the democratic process and advocating for affordable housing. What now? Do you want to get even more involved in making an impact on the issues that matter to you? If so, you’ve come to the right place: contacting your representatives is a great way ensure that the issues that you care about are prioritized by political leaders.

In this blog post, you’ll find several tips and tricks to prepare you to make successful and meaningful calls to your representatives.

make your call count

Do your research. First and foremost, make sure you know exactly what it is you are calling about. It’s always a good idea to brush up with some reading about the issue before you make your call. To take it a step further, be sure to read perspectives from both sides of an issue, especially if it’s a contentious one. This can help you make a stronger case when you call your representative.

Know your facts and figures. One of the best ways to ensure your concern will be taken seriously is to provide your representative with facts, data, and statistics to back up your argument. Though they may already have access to these, it never hurts to remind them of the quantifiable impact you are advocating for, and it increases your credibility as a caller when you are able to offer evidence about your cause.

Decide who the best representative is for your issue. Before you make a phone call, you’ll want to determine which representatives have the most direct impact on the issues and policies you’re hoping to change. For example, if you chose to call a representative regarding a local policy, such as the Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), you’ll want to call your city councilmember, not your U.S. Senator. Senators have very little to do with directly influencing local policy, and city councilmembers will have much more interest in listening to your perspective as it directly informs their decisions about how to vote for ordinances and policies.

Be polite and respectful but firm and confident. Keep your call brief and to the point. Representatives are more likely to listen to a message that succinctly lays out the problem, evidence, and proposed solution than a rambling message from an angry caller. This is especially true if your representative does not share your political affiliation. In your research, try to find something positive that your representative has done or voted for in your issue area. Then, you can thank them for their contribution before transitioning into your brief argument explaining why they should pay attention to the issue at hand.

Below is a sample outline to help guide your call.  Tailor this outline to your representative and the issue that you’re calling about.

Greeting & introduction: Hello [Representative Name], my name is [your name], and I am a registered voter in [district, state, or city name].

Expression of Gratitude: I wanted to thank you for [an effort or contribution, or for serving as a representative].

Problem, Evidence, Solution:  I am calling today to ask you to consider [briefly state your argument]. [State a quick statistic, fact, or brief anecdote that supports your cause]. In light of this, I am asking you [state the concrete action you are hoping for your representative to take – e.g., voting for a measure, advocating for the allocation of funds, etc.]

Statement of Stakes: This is an issue that is very important to me and many of my friends and neighbors. We hope that you will advocate for [the cause], which affects many of the constituents in your district.

Thank you again for your time and service, and we hope that you [take x action] on [x timeline].

find your representative

Once you’ve prepared, you’re ready to call! Find your representatives below.

North Carolina Senators:

Thom Tillis
– Email Sen. Tillis here
– Call Sen. Tillis: 202.224.6342
Office Locations

Richard Burr
– Email Sen. Burr here
– Call Sen. Burr: 202.224.3154
Office Locations
Note: Senator Burr is currently serving his last term; the election for his successor will take place on November 8, 2022. Find out about the candidates running here.

How to find your US Representative
1. Visit house.gov
2. Enter your ZIP Code in the appropriate search bar.
3. Press “enter,” and your representative will appear based on the ZIP code you provided.

Find your local elected officials:

Not interested in reaching out directly to your elected representatives? You can still help advocate for affordable housing! For the November 8th election, Housing Bonds will be on the ballot in Charlotte.  You can read more about the importance of these bonds here.  These bonds are key to developing new affordable housing units in Charlotte, but not everyone knows the importance of these bonds.  You can help by providing voter education outside of the polls.  Sign up here to receive training and volunteer to be a bond educator on election day!

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Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region service area

House Size Policy

Household SizeBedrooms
Single adult or couple with no children2
Single adult or couple with 1 child3
Single adult or couple with 2 children3
Single adult or couple with 3 children 4
Single adult or couple with 4 children*4
Single adult or couple with 5 or more children5
Single adult or couple with 4 children where age (13 or over), age difference (4 yrs or more apart), or gender doesn't allow sharing5

House sizes for households with multiple adults or adults who are not married will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

* Children of the same gender who are under 13-years-old and fewer than 4 years apart in age could be required to share a room.