US Senate Housing Questions

As COVID unfolded, existing housing insecurities in our state exploded into an eviction crisis, putting families at-risk and exposing young people to increased housing insecurity which could set their lives on a negative trajectory. Michigan’s Children partnered with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, and Fostering Success Michigan to submit a list of questions to Michigan’s major candidates for US Senate asking how they will close different gaps in access to housing that affect children, youth, and families.

Whoever wins Michigan’s US Senate election must understand their role in ensuring safe, stable, and affordable housing for our state’s young people and families against growing instability. Read more for specific housing-related questions you can ask your Senate candidates, on the phone, on email, in the letters to the editor, or on social media.

Tweet-able questions that anyone could share with room to tag at least one candidate.

  • The pandemic is going to drive increased housing instability after Eviction Diversion funds expire soon. If elected, what federal resources are you willing to commit to preventing evictions and homelessness?
  • Within 18 months of “aging out” of foster care, 40-50% of youth become homeless, despite the state’s responsibility for helping them find stability. What will you do to improve housing access for youth with experience in foster care?
  • Students experiencing housing insecurity graduate HS at just a 57% rate. If elected, how will you help students experiencing homelessness and their families find safe, accessible housing and achieve academic success?
  • Postsecondary success decreases the likelihood of homelessness, but MI youth in foster care graduate HS at just a 40% rate. How are you willing to support postsecondary access and success for MI youth with experience in foster care?
  • A working parent at minimum wage can afford a 2-bedroom apartment w/o spending over a third of their paycheck in only 9 MI counties. What is your plan to ensure that all families have affordable housing?

We know engagement with candidates this year will look completely different than years past. However, it’s still of the utmost importance that we make an effort to outreach and connect with our communities’ candidates, up and down the ballot.

With only weeks remaining, we have compiled a list of ‘3 Plays’ you and others can execute to engage with candidates before election day, November 3, 2020.

Play #1: Take a look at who your candidates are and the issues they’re promoting this election cycle.

  • Visit vote411.org/ballot and enter the address where you’re registered to vote. Then click view ballot.
  • Here you can use the interactive tools to not only learn about the role of the elected official’s position, but also compare competing candidates within each role selected.
  • Many of these profiles also offer direct links to the candidates’ campaign websites where you can learn more about their platform and where they can be reached to engage further

Play #2: Find out where your candidates will be over the coming weeks

  • Using either vote 411 resource above or by simply doing an internet and social media search, you can find out where your candidates will be making appearances and how best to contact them to get them engaged on the issues that matter to children, youth and families in your area.
  • Once you’ve found a bit of information, invite others to participate in that candidate’s event or an event of your own, to further elevate the issues that matter most among fellow community members.
  • Attend candidate forums and ask questions! For sample questions and links to other resources in our four areas, click on the buttons below.

                        icon Strong Familiesicon Ready Learnersicon Thriving Studentsicon Successful Transitions

Play #3: Explore different ways of talking to and engaging with candidates this cycle. Here are some options we found work best in the electoral spaces this year:

Video Q&A: Taking a brief video and uploading it to social media can be a great first step of electoral engagement. It’s even more powerful if you can show the “faces and places” that are impacted most by the issue point or policy question you’re asking candidates. Here’s how you can execute this method of interaction with candidates this year:

  1. Use a cell phone, tablet or computer to record a brief video that’s no longer than 2-minutes, stating your name and/or organization, where you or others in the video will be voting and ask your question to the candidate.
  2. Once you’re done recording the video – save, upload and share with others so we can help amplify your voice. When uploading the video to social media and other digital platforms, be sure to find and use the corresponding tags to the candidates’ pages and social media accounts.
  3. Share with us at Michigan’s Children, by emailing both your initial video containing candidate questions and any responses from candidates you may receive to adam@michiganschildren.org
  4. Challenge other organizations to see who engages with their candidates the most by tagging both questions and responses using the hashtag #AskMI2020. You may find a bit of friendly competition amongst our youth and organizations can create quite a bit of buzz around the Michigan primaries and voting.

Ask for a Virtual Visit: In your outreach to candidates and their campaigns, they may be interested in briefly meeting you in a virtual way. This engagement opportunity may involve candidates having valuable facetime with youth, parents or service providers who seek a more in depth conversation about specific issue areas and the solutions the candidate can assist in enacting. This strategy is most effective when you extend this invitation to all of the candidates running in the specified district — those who already know and support you, and those who don’t, all need to have the opportunity to connect. It is sometimes surprising which candidates take you up on these offers, and then whoever is the winner, you will have built a bit of a relationship with them.

Michigan’s Children Upcoming Engagement Forums

In years previous, Michigan’s Children has partnered with other organizations and local partners to host advocacy forums during election cycles as a way to further engage candidates and the constituents they serve around issues that matter most to children, youth and families throughout their community. This year, while many of these advocacy forums will take on a different look and feel, our objective is the same – to provide a common space for candidates and constituents to engage on the issues that best serve our most vulnerable populations. Below you will find a list of the upcoming forums Michigan’s Children has collaborated with local partners to host:

Kalamazoo Area Youth-Led Candidate Forum, 10/14
Ingham and Genesee Youth-Led Candidate Forum, 10/22