Pillow Talk – Advocacy Tip #4 – Know How to Communicate

by Perry Pillow, Director of Government Affairs, AATC

Last month, we explored AATC Advocacy Tip #3:  Know Your Public Officials.  Remember, knowledge is power, but knowledge also lets you connect with an elected official in a meaningful way. As a multifamily housing industry advocate, your goal is to find a connection point—something or someone that personally connects you to elected officials. That way, when you meet with them, it is a conversation between friends.

You have established a relationship with an elected official, now what?  That brings us to Advocacy Tip #4:  Know How to Communicate.

Somewhat like a parent-child relationship, it is very helpful and always useful to regularly touch base with elected officials. Too often, our communication with government officials only occurs when we need something or when there is an urgent problem staring us in the face:  increased fees, more regulations, increased taxes, etc. Like all healthy relationships, AATC members must frequently interact with elected folks and commit to doing so in the good times, bad times, and times in between. The next time something good happens in their district, send them an email or text. If something cool happens at your property or you see something in the media about an elected official, let them know.

For example, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price was recently interviewed by ESPN about the Colonial Golf Tournament in Fort Worth this month being the first PGA Tour event since the COVID-19 crisis. So, I texted her to tell her I saw the interview and congratulate her on promoting Fort Worth.  She immediately responded to text and thanked me for supporting her.  Everyone, including the mayor of the 12th largest city in America, enjoys a pat on the back.

Another great way to communicate is hand-written notes. In our overly virtual, uber electronic world, taking the time and effort to hand-write a letter to an elected official gets notice. Just a quick, thinking of you or thanks for your leadership written on a personal or company stationery with your business card enclosed, is a powerful, effective means to strengthen the partnership between you, your company, our industry, and elected officials.

Remember, effective advocacy means to communicate, communicate, and communicate some more with government officials.

COVID-19 – RENTAL ASSISTANCE

AATC is partnering with the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington along with Tarrant County officials to create a COVID-19 rental assistance program. These rental assistance funds are limited and are available to assist with rent payments for renters directly impacted by COVID-19. Rent payments will be made directly to landlords—not the residents. Landlords and renters access these monies based on where their property is located as follows:

 

Arlington:

Landlords:  https://mindycochran.typeform.com/to/UeHf8s

Renters:  https://mindycochran.typeform.com/to/ukmCBU

If you or your residents have additional questions about Arlington’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 275-3351.

 

Fort Worth:

  • Landlords: http://fortworthtexas.gov/purchasing/
    • Fort Worth landlords must register with the city as a “Bidder.” You will need the following code to register: 80131500
  • Renters: http://fortworthtexas.gov/neighborhoods/covid-19-relief-funds/

If you or your residents have additional questions about Fort Worth’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 392-7540.

 

All Other Tarrant County Cities:

If you or your residents have additional questions about Tarrant County’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 850-7940.

 

To learn more about these programs, go to https://www.aatcnet.org/coronavirus.html

 

COVID-19

 

Local, state, and federal governments have been at the forefront of battling the COVID-19 crisis. From shelter-in-place orders, a statewide eviction ban, and the federal stimulus package, AATC, TAA, and NAA government relations teams are proactively engaged with government officials to ensure that our residents and employees are safe.

 

Our properties are open, our assets are maintained, and our financial obligations are met. Our advocacy success during the COVID-19 crisis is based mostly on our members’ sustained efforts and professional government relations staff to build strong partnerships with elected officials and government staff. We are reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by AATC members over the years to foster professional relationships with government officials. Crises do not build character; crises reveal character. Thanks so much to AATC’s leadership, owner/operators, and our supplier partners for all your hard work to ensure our employees, residents, and businesses thrive through this challenging time. If you have any questions or concerns about our industry’s COVID-19 response go to www.aatcnet.org

 

ADVOCACY TEAMS

Our Advocacy Teams are hard at work on your behalf in cities throughout Tarrant County. Advocacy team members meet and vet candidates for public office. This personal engagement enhances AATC’s GAC & PAC trustees’ candidate evaluation process. Advocacy teams host property tours, attend city council meetings, and engage in local issues that affect our industry. If you live, own, or operate properties in Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Euless, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Haltom City, Hurst, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, our Advocacy Teams need you. If you know elected or government officials, our Advocacy Teams, need you. If you would like to be on an advocacy team, contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or (817) 616-0354.

 

2020 MAY 2 MUNICIPAL ELECTION MOVED

 

Due to COVID-19, numerous Tarrant County cities (including Arlington) are moving their May 2 municipal elections to November 3. Mayors and council members impacted by this move will serve until November. Municipal candidates’ names will appear at the bottom of the November ballot. This move will most likely diminish the vote for local government candidates and potentially inject partisanship into non-partisan municipal elections. Local candidates will struggle to get their names and issues heard in a presidential election.

 

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-616-0354.