The number of new condominium and homeowners associations is expected to increase by 4,500 in 2021, according to projections from the Foundation for Community Association Research. Laws and regulations impacting common interest communities, which are home to more than 73 million Americans, change rapidly. CAI needs advocacy at all levels, including grassroots advocacy to push public policy issues that maintain the integrity of the community association housing model.

Recently, the Congressional Management Foundation released a report, “The Future of Citizen Engagement: Coronavirus, Congress, and Constituent Communications,” that emphasizes the importance of citizen participation to affect advocacy. Below is a summary of the publication’s findings.

This year, 77% of legislators will hold online town hall meetings. Almost half (46%) expect their offices to increase time and resources on town halls conducted by phone while decreasing resources for in-person meetings both in Washington, D.C. (67%) and back home (53%). In addition, legislators expect their offices to devote more time and resources to remote engagement with individual constituents.

Critics of remote interactions claim that Congressional representatives use virtual meetings or phone calls to screen and potentially avoid speaking with constituents. However, the Congressional Management Foundation’s research found that remote forums provide accessibility to constituents who cannot travel and are productive for legislators when used effectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new opportunities for improved communication between Congress, citizens, and representation groups, leading to greater democratic participation.

CAI is dedicated to building its advocacy capacity at the state and federal level with these developments in mind. We need dedicated advocates to engage with elected officials and provide financial support to lobbying efforts. Here are steps you can take today to support our grassroots advocacy efforts:

Become a CAI advocate. CAI advocates participate in regular advocacy activities, build relationships with legislators, attend town hall meetings, and more. Download the CAI Advocate app to receive regular communications as well as ideas and suggestions to inform your advocacy efforts. Sign up today, www.caionline.org/takeaction.

Recruit other advocates. Colleagues, clients, and homeowners can help amplify CAI’s voice at state legislatures and in Capitol Hill. Please urge them to become advocates.

Strengthen your relationships. Some relationships with state legislators and Congressional representatives are stronger and more personal than others; however, all relationships are important. Tell us who you know and the level of your relationship, and we can help make your advocacy efforts more strategic and effective.

Interact with elected officials. Visit your elected officials’ websites to find out when they are holding town hall meetings. Schedule to meet with them virtually, by phone, or in person at their district office to share why community association issues are important to you and other constituents. Share CAI resources for legislators www.caionline.org/legislatorcorner.

Invite elected officials to your community. Extend an invitation to elected officials to attend your community’s events and facilitate a forum for them to share their priorities with board members, staff, and residents. Connect with CAI today via government@caionline.org to assist you in inviting your legislators!

Learn about CAI’s political action committee. These funds support political candidates who advocate on behalf of the community association housing. For more information, visit www.caionline.org/Advocacy/CAIPAC.

Support lobbying efforts. Financial support is critical for lobbyists in CAI’s legislative action committees, providing them with a greater presence at state legislatures and in Congress. Contribute to your state legislative action committee at www.caionline.org/takeaction.

Help CAI grassroots advocacy efforts for issues that matter. Learn more by visiting www.caionline.org/takeaction.

Dawn Bauman, CAE

Dawn Bauman, CAE

Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs

Executive Director, Foundation for Community Association Research

Full Bio

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