Coalition to Build 1,000 Homes: Aid for Calling Councilmembers

Thank you for calling councilmembers today! Our coalition thanks Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who has signed on to the budget proposal to Build 1,000 Homes. While it can feel intimidating to make these calls, this kind of advocacy can have a large impact on councilmembers’ decisions to support or oppose legislation, especially when done as an organized coalition.

Below are a few guidelines to assist you in making calls.

A few things to remember first:

  • You will mostly likely be speaking to staff members, and they are used to speaking with constituents, since it’s part of their job.
  • Smile while you’re speaking and be cordial. Actually smiling helps you feel calm and confident, and a cordial tone helps demand that the person on the phone takes you seriously.
  • Remember that you are part of an organized coalition asking for one of the most basic human rights: housing that ordinary people can afford. Almost any person in Seattle will agree with this, but we won’t win unless we demand it from our electeds.

Some guidelines:

Ask a Clear Yes/No Question

My name is ______ and I’m calling on behalf of the Coalition to Build 1,000 Homes.

Can we count on councilmember ______ to sign on to the budget proposal to allocate $160 million to Build 1,000 Homes?

Only Accept a Yes/No Answer

Most offices will try to avoid answering the question, unless they can say Yes. Here are a few different responses you might hear:

A staff person thanks you for calling and says they absolutely support affordable housing, but doesn’t give you a clear yes/no on this amendment:

  • Express excitement that they support affordable housing and very politely insist that they give you a clear yes/no answer about if we can count on their councilmember to support the Build 1,000 Homes budget proposal.

A staff person says they are not sure, or that the councilmember has not yet taken a position:

  • Ask to set up a meeting to explain why your community supports 1,000 Homes.

A staff person thanks you for calling and says they will absolutely pass the message along to their councilmember:

  • Thank them, and in a nice and firm tone, let them know that Build 1,000 Homes Coalition members are eager to know where _____ stands on 1,000 Homes. You’ll be calling back tomorrow to check in with them.

The councilmember says the funding isn’t there:

  • Assure them that the funding is there and if they have real concerns, Ted Virdone in my office is more than willing to brief them on the details.

The councilmember says funding has to be taken out of the transportation levy to pay for this project:

  • This will not take any money from transit, and I know Councilmember Sawant’s office has offered to answer any questions directly. My community will be extremely disappointed if the Council wastes this unique opportunity to build such a serious number of affordable housing, which our communities desperately need.

Call Back until You Get a Yes/No Answer

No matter what, you should inform the person that you will be calling back daily until you get a Yes or No answer to whether we can count on the councilmember to support the 1,000 Homes budget proposal. People in your community and in the Build 1,000 Homes Coalition need to know.

I hope this is helpful, and good luck with the phone calls. A list of all councilmember phone numbers is right below.

Onward to 1,000 Homes!


Call List

Councilmember Lisa Herbold

Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Councilmember Rob Johnson

Councilmember Deborah Juarez

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw

Councilmember Tim Burgess

Councilmember Lorena González

Councilmember Mike O’Brien (to thank for his support)

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