Messaging Toolkit

When making the case for affordable housing, compelling data is only half of the equation – without a supporting narrative to frame the message in a way that resonates with the audience, data can sometimes do more harm than good. That’s why HousingForward Virginia has begun assembling a Messaging Toolkit to help advocates and supporters of affordable housing best utilize the data and tools on our website.

1. Infographics on Virginia1. Most lower income Virginians struggle to pay for their homes. A household is housing cost burdened when it spends more than 30% of its annual income on housing. Nearly one-third of all renters and homeowners in Virginia are housing cost burdened. The vast majority of extremely low income households (making less than 30% of the area median income) and very low income households (less than 50% AMI) are housing cost burdened. Source: CHAS Data, 2011-2015 American Community Survey. 2. Wages are not keeping up with rising rents. Many renters experience housing cost burden because wage growth has not kept up with the cost of rent and other housing costs. Between 2005 and 2015, the median renter wage in Virginia increased by only 4%, yet the median gross rent for the state increased by 15%. Source: Housing<em srcset=Forward Virginia Sourcebook” width=”1024″ height=”934″>

Click to see the next 8 graphics

2. Messaging Initiatives

This initiative was kicked off when we invited Dr. Tiffany Manuel (Enterprise Community Partners) and Dr. Mackenzie Price (FrameWorks Institute) to present some preliminary findings on the research around “re-framing the affordable housing message” that is currently in development. You can find their presentations below:


This research has already spurred a few preliminary reports that offer guidance for affordable housing supporters to begin re-thinking how they engage with policymakers, stakeholders, and the broader public. You can find the reports via their organizations’ websites below:


3. Messaging Examples

Messaging can appear in many forms. Below we have housing factsheets about housing in regions and jurisdictions of Virginia, housing programs factsheets, and educational slides on Inclusionary Housing and on how to overcome NIMBY.