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Affordable Housing

Conversation Guide

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays no more than 30 percent of income toward housing costs, including utilities. When people pay more than 30 percent of income toward housing costs, they are considered “housing cost burdened,” and when they pay more than 50 percent, they are considered severely housing cost burdened.

Background Information:

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

To see a conversation customized for Silicon Valley, click hereClick here to see a condensed 3 round Silicon Valley topic guide.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

What are your thoughts on affordable housing?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • To what extent are you and your family experiencing changes in housing costs and affordability?
  • What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community?
  • To what extent is housing affordability affecting your thinking or experience of the American Dream?
  • What percentage of your income does your housing cost? What is the impact on your life?
  • How is housing affordability affecting your vision for your own future – or the future of your community as you know it?
  • What would you like to see happen in your community or the country to begin addressing housing affordability?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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