NewsGet InvolvedDonateAbout Us

Housing Matters

Issues in this session

Poverty, affordable housing, public housing, housing vouchers, section 8, home ownership, mortgage interest tax deduction

The Message

“There is no place like home,” is one of the most famous movie lines of all time, but for millions of Americans, a decent, safe and affordable place to live is an unattainable dream. Yet, every family in America deserves housing that is adequate, decent, affordable and safe.

The Process

Housing Matters participants spend the first half of the hour-long session role playing a town council meeting in fictional Shelbyville, USA, a town that is the “average” American town of 98,000 where the demographics match those of the U.S. averages. The town's Council members, who articulate many common myths about affordable housing,  do not believe there is a need for affordable housing and want to reject a plan to turn an abandoned school into lower-income apartments.  Well prepared residents express their support for the proposal.  Who will win the day? Will the affordable housing be built?

The Just Neighbors toolkit provides 49 “Housing Matters Cards” to get the discussion rolling for both Council Members and Residents.

The role play exercise is followed by a moving 15 minute video about what a home means to a family, what it is like not to have a decent, safe and affordable home, and what towns across America are doing to make affordable housing a reality in their communities.

This is a full session that leaves participants hopeful about what can be accomplished by local groups  leveraging  government assistance. What efforts are being made in your community? What roadblocks to affordable housing stand in the way?

Try Me!

Watch a clip from the Housing Matters Video.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the U.S. is a signatory, recognizes the importance of housing to a family’s well-being; it states that the right to housing is part of every person’s “right to an adequate standard of living,” alongside the essentials of food, clothing and medical care.