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Why voter registration and affordable housing go hand in hand

America’s greatest equalizer is the constitutional privilege to vote. However, for many low-income New Yorkers, simply registering to vote can be a challenge.

NYSAFAH — as a coalition of affordable housing developers, managers, architects, planners, and others who help build and preserve housing for low- and middle-income New Yorkers — recognizes that we are in a unique position to take on this challenge because we are often working closely with these populations.

By providing voter registration information directly to residents in and around their own apartment buildings, our members can play a significant role in connecting tenants with the information they need to vote.

That is why this summer NYSAFAH is launching a non-partisan voter registration initiative that will target residents of affordable housing developments that are managed by our members.

This initiative will build on the similar successful initiatives undertaken by NYSAFAH members Jonathan Rose Companies and The Community Builders.

Through this effort, we expect to help thousands more low-income New Yorkers register to vote by the end of this year.

This ambitious voter registration initiative was first announced at our 20th Annual New York City conference, which took place on May 16.

In front of our largest conference crowd to date we committed to continuing to go beyond our first priority of delivering quality affordable housing for all New Yorkers. Because as good stewards of affordable housing we know that our job does not end once we create new housing — rather, it’s just the beginning.

To help meet our goals, NYSAFAH is partnering with the New York City League of Women Voters to advance a co-ordinated outreach campaign that is driven by direct engagement with residents.

his outreach will include voter registration drives held at buildings in which residents live. At these sessions, building managers will provide non-partisan guidance and information with the goal of maximizing voter registration among the residents.

NYSAFAH members are connected to thousands of New Yorkers who live in hundreds of buildings across the five boroughs. Because of this, we have a great opportunity to actually boost rates of voter registration among low-income communities throughout New York.

But voter registration is just the first step. Ultimately, we hope these efforts will increase participation because our democracy benefits when all American’s are engaged in the voting process.

Our announcement has received an outpouring of support from NYSAFAH members who are excited to embark on this ambitious housing-based voter registration initiative.

We look forward to launching the initiative this summer in New York City and to expand across New York State next fall. We hope this will help New Yorkers have their voices heard on election day.

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