One of my favorite quotes from poet/author Maya Angelou has always been,
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
This is something that I am constantly considering in my work as executive director of the Connecticut Housing Coalition. Our best efforts to move ahead on issues of affordable housing often depend on our ability to move people’s hearts. While facts and figures may most precisely communicate the dire need for more affordable housing options in our communities, they are rarely able to convey the very real and emotional impact of housing issues on people’s lives. To accomplish that, you need to understand the compelling personal stories of people’s experiences with (or without) housing and the ways in which those experiences have shaped their lives.
In recognition of this truth, The Connecticut Housing Coalition is launching an initiative to gather and record personal stories of Connecticut resident’s experiences with housing. Inspired by NPR’s StoryCorps segment, we will have a room at our annual fall conference reserved exclusively for the videorecording of people’s “housing stories”. By capturing these stories and sharing them on our website and at future events, we hope to harness the power of those stories to move the affordable housing movement forward.
If you are able to attend our conference on Wednesday, September 24, we invite you to share your personal story with us. Tell us about a time when housing significantly impacted your life. Your story can be brief or long. It can be sad or amusing. It can include an unusual element or just recount an “everyday” experience from your own unique perspective. What matters is that it is personal. We’re not looking for “a” story. We want to hear your story and to understand why it is important to you.
This year, to celebrate our 25th anniversary, our conference will feature three sets of workshops and a panel discussion looking at both the past and future of affordable housing issues in Connecticut. To learn more about the upcoming conference and the opportunity to share your story, please visit http://ct-housing.org/events/annual-conference. We hope that you will be among the 600 people that join us each year for Connecticut’s largest housing event!
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