How we talk about Traverse City housing

At this week’s Live TC meeting, we discussed how to reframe our pro-housing message.

Framing is the choices we make on what to say, how to say it, and what to leave unsaid.

These goals, guidelines, and recommendations were built using the FrameWorks Institute’s “Piecing It Together: A Communications Playbook for Housing Advocates” and
‘You Don’t Have to Live Here’: Why Housing Messages Are Backfiring and 10 Things We Can Do About It.”

Live TC has four communication/framing goals:

  • Elevate the issue of housing availability. Build a broader understanding of why abundant Traverse City is a matter of public concern.
  • Explain disparities. Help people understand what restricts access to quality housing and how discrimination contributes to problems.
  • Make the case for community development organizations like HomeStretch. Specify how they help to ensure equitable development.
  • Highlight solutions. Emphasize that more effective approaches are within our reach.

Adopting a set of framing guidelines will better help us get to these goals. The guidelines recommended by the FrameWorks Institute include: 

  • Building messaging around the values of “Fairness Across Places.
  • Avoiding consumerist language. 
  • Moving from the individual to the collective. 
  • Explaining how policies affect equity.
  • Taking the time needed to introduce race most productively.
  • Positioning community development organizations as solving the puzzle of varying concerns, expertise, and resources. 
  • Highlighting possibilities for wide-scale improvement — not a wide-scale disaster.

To read more and be better equipped to have your next conversation about how we build homes in TC, visit our living document, Reframing How We Talk About Housing in Traverse City.

Let us know what worked or didn’t work for you.


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