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Back on the Road with the Lab: Fall 2023 Edition


We always say narrative change requires us to reach Everyone. Everywhere. All the Time. That has meant HNL staff have been traveling everywhere this Fall, teaching and training about all things narrative change, from the basics to the details.

We kicked off the travel season in September, when Sarah presented “The Essentials of Narrative Change” at Housing Virginia’s Most Vulnerable Conference 2023, hosted by Virginia Housing Alliance. The session provided an intro to narrative change and showed participants examples of successful narrative change efforts, particularly around smoking. We had a lot of amazing discussions – this group was not shy!

In October the whole team was collecting frequent flier miles.

Marisol presented twice at the Housing WA 2023 Annual Conference

“Everyone, Everywhere, All the time” was a learning lab with Edie Irons, Communications Director at All Home CA to train impacted people, advocates, service providers and nonprofit housing developers on how each of them can advance a new housing narrative using research, asset framing and tested messages. 

In “Housing Justice Narrative” Marisol co-presented with Michael Anderson, Director of the Housing Justice Team at Community Change about how we can collectively move to a housing narrative centered on justice. 

Claire presented at the Housing for All 2023 Affordable Housing & Community Development Conference, hosted by San Diego Housing Federation. Claire, Unai Montes, Narrative and Strategic Communications Director at Housing California, and Jexsi Gray from Residents United Network (RUN) and Lived Experience Advisors co-led the session, “Doing It All Wrong: Shattering the illusion that we have communicated what, where + how we need to in order to shift the narrative on housing and homelessness.” 

The whole team traveled to New York City for the “I ❤️Narrative” convening in collaboration with the NYC Fund to End Youth & Family Homelessness hosted at Robin Hood. The two-day training for advocates, researchers, service providers, funders and people with lived experience of unstable housing focused on developing narrative strategies and skills. It was an amazing two days of learning and collaborative work. Special thanks to our guest speakers: 

Lynn Lewis, The Picture the Homeless Oral History Project
Kadisha Davis, Hear Our Voices Podcast
Michael Jackson, writer and member of the Lab’s Advisory Committee
Terry Parris Jr., Public Square Editor for Headway, a project of The New York Times
Tatyana Turner, City Limits
Derek Kravitz, MuckRock

Marisol was back on the planes, trains and automobiles to give the Keynote address: “Story to Action: Moving People for Change” at the Housing Matters 2023 conference, hosted by Housing Action Illinois.

“Each of us is a narrative gardener whether you are in comms, advocacy, a service provider or organizer, elected officials…As each of us seeds a shared narrative garden, we will start to grow new thinking and ideas, persuading people first through their hearts then their minds that when we all have a safe place to call home, we thrive and strengthen our communities.”

Are you going to the following conferences? If so, be sure to connect with us.

Up next for the Lab is Marisol’s trip to Los Angeles next week to join our partner Housing California for a narrative workshop at the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing annual conference and a hands-on in-person storytelling bootcamp for members of the Residents United Network to transform their lived experience and passion for housing justice into effective advocacy and narrative change.

Sarah will be speaking on “Building the Playbook, Winning Messaging and Strategies” panel discussion at Build the Middle: A National Housing Convening hosted by Casita Coalition in San Diego. 

After our season of travel we’ll be wrapping up some exciting research projects and looking forward to all that 2024 will bring!