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2024: Coming together to tell new housing narratives


Here’s what we know is scheduled to happen in 2024: The Summer Olympics, a Solar Eclipse, the first moon landing by U.S. astronauts in 52 years and critical national elections in India, Mexico and here in the United States. 

What else does 2024 have in store for us all?  At the Housing Narrative Lab, we know the year ahead presents unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities to shape a future where every person, no matter our race, zipcode, or what country we were born in, will have what we need to live a decent life. 

Last year was one of expansion for the Lab: Three new staff joined our team, we collaborated deeply with national and grassroots partners to support publication of dozens of media stories and opinion pieces; created several free resources such as our Field Guide and Message Guide, and held virtual and in-person storytelling and narrative trainings reaching more than 900 people. You can read all about it in our full 2023 Impact Report

What’s ahead for 2024? The Lab is focused on these top narrative priorities: 

1. Continue building narrative infrastructure in the housing space

Our work is to guide everyone, everywhere, all the time to advance a transformational housing narrative at scale, consistently and through repetition. To do this, we need narrative infrastructure that helps the housing field understand how to tell effective stories to move people to action, the role of narrative research in our work and how we need to collaborate deeply toward a shared narrative North Star. This year, strong narrative infrastructure in housing and homelessness is critical as we face well-resourced and coordinated opposition.

2. Go on offense for proven solutions 

Offense is our best defense against policy and narrative attacks on the dignity and safety of people who experience homelessness. We know these attacks are backed by a well-funded opposition that is building broad public support for arresting people who are unhoused and undermining proven solutions such as Housing First. We will build on and expand our work to help journalists, advocates, service providers and community leaders tell impactful stories about how compassionate responses and proven solutions work to solve homelessness. 

3. Homelessness in the 2024 elections and courts 

Debates about homelessness will surface and, at times, take center stage in 2024’s local, state and national elections and national court rulings. Racist dog whistles and fearmongering about homelessness in cities and people struggling to stay in their homes will likely be central to candidate messages in a number of communities and the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Grants Pass, Oregon vs. Johnson case could upend national approaches to homelessness response. We are planning a series of webinars to help reporters and grassroots organizers understand what’s at stake.  As always, we will help partners build their capacity to advance narratives that center compassionate, proven solutions to homelessness.

4. Race, racism and narratives about homelessness 

Black and Indigenous people are forced into homelessness at the highest rates – the sad result of racist policy and budget decisions that have trapped people of color in disinvested neighborhoods, low-paying jobs and neighborhoods lacking safe or dignified housing options. In 2024, we will continue to show how race is being used to divide us (like in the migrant / asylum narratives) by people who oppose real solutions. We will continue to create resources and suport the storytelling and leadership of people with lived expertise of housing insecurity and homelessness. 

5. Calling out the blame game 

In 2024, we anticipate an increase in debates on how cities should respond to the shelter needs of asylum seekers. In 2023, these conversations too often pitted people who are newly arrived against long-time residents who have been waiting for shelter and emergency housing assistance. We created an English and Spanish language resource to guide leaders in this conversation, and will continue to support organizations working for solutions that ensure everyone has a safe place to sleep, no matter how long they have lived here. 

How can we help you achieve your priorities in 2024? Drop us a line and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to see these priorities in action over the next year.