To raise awareness of the inadequate federal funding for social housing during the federal housing campaign. The goals of the project were:
1. To convince voters to make increased funding for social housing an election issue
2. To show the public that homelessness and housing could be addressed with a reasonable investment
3. To communicate that homeless individuals were worthy of housing and did not match the typical negative stereotypes
Knowing that most people would be shocked at how low a priority housing is in the federal budget was the insight that drove the campaign. Part of the strategy was to use percentages versus dollar amounts because dollar amounts were often equated were tax hikes. While communicating that the federal government spending on housing is less than 1% of the budget put it in the proper perspective. Secondarily the solution (adequate funding for social housing) was achievable by increasing funding to 1.8%.
To break through the election clutter, the campaign tone was disruptive and urgent. By utilizing warning labels, it positioned the issue as a crisis which needed to be addressed.
The campaign employed the following tactics:
1. Iconic created a microsite, www.votehousing.ca, where voters could share the messages through social media, lobby candidates and sign a petition.
2. Decals were adhered to the federal budget and handed out at public events, and images of decaled budgets were used in print and outdoor advertising.
3. A set of videos, featuring former homeless individuals, were created so that people could better understand how homelessness can happen to anyone.
The GVCEH and their community partners were very pleased with the following results:
1. Voter Engagement – Thousands of people shared the campaign on social media and viewed the videos.
2. Media Attention – The campaign caught the eye of the media, and both the campaign and the underlying housing issue received a great deal of media coverage. Journalists also pushed the issue of housing when speaking to candidates.
3. Increased Funding for Housing – During the election campaign candidates committed to increases to funding for social housing. Since the election, there has been significantly more funding budgeted for social housing.