Resources

Using Advocacy to End Homelessness

Toolkits  |  February 3, 2011

The homelessness assistance system in your community likely relies on federal resources to operate. Key federal programs like the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, joint U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, and countless other resources all come from federal programs. As a result, federal funding and programs are integral to efforts by your community and organization to prevent and end homelessness.

By encouraging policymakers to take action, advocacy can be extremely effective at making change. On countless occasions, legislators have stated initially that they could not take a specific step or support a specific program until advocates stepped in and worked to change their minds. Over the years, advocates have made a large impact on federal policy to prevent and end homelessness.

You can better achieve your organization’s mission and improve your community’s success at ending homelessness if you have improved access to federal resources. Advocacy helps us to gain new and increased resources for preventing and ending homelessness.

TOOLKIT:

Advocacy can be one of the most powerful ways to impact public policy. However, advocacy can seem overwhelming, and there is a lot of confusion about what advocacy is and how to do it. This toolkit is designed to dispel any myths or confusion you may have about advocacy and to provide you with all of the tools that you need to advocate to make preventing and ending homelessness a federal priority. Through advocacy, we can work with policymakers to provide new and increased resources so that no man, woman, or child in the United States experiences homelessness.

Why Should YOU Do Advocacy?

Not only is advocacy an important part of the nation’s collective effort to prevent and end homelessness, it also represents an important aspect of the work you do to accomplish those goals. As a constituent, your voice matters; it is the job of elected officials to listen to their constituents and work to address their needs. Members of Congress are most interested in what their own constituents have to say, so try to focus your advocacy efforts on your own representatives and senators. If constituents do not tell federal policymakers why it is important to make ending homelessness a federal priority, policymakers may never know they need to do so. Just as it is their job to listen to you, it is your job to tell them what your community needs.

As someone who is involved in the homelessness assistance world, you are a critical part of advocacy efforts to secure new and increased resources for ending homelessness. If you work in this field on a daily basis, you are well aware of the challenges that your community  is facing and what it could do with additional resources or new or improved programs. It is up to you to communicate those needs to policymakers. They rely on constituents to understand which issues represent a priority for their community.

Advocacy can be one of the most powerful ways to impact public policy. However, advocacy can seem overwhelming, and there is a lot of confusion about what advocacy is and how to do it. This toolkit is designed to dispel any myths or confusion you may have about advocacy and to provide you with all of the tools that you need to advocate to make preventing and ending homelessness a federal priority. Through advocacy, we can work with policymakers to provide new and increased resources so that no man, woman, or child in the United States experiences homelessness.

Why Should YOU Do Advocacy?

Not only is advocacy an important part of the nation’s collective effort to prevent and end homelessness, it also represents an important aspect of the work you do to accomplish those goals. As a constituent, your voice matters; it is the job of elected officials to listen to their constituents and work to address their needs. Members of Congress are most interested in what their own constituents have to say, so try to focus your advocacy efforts on your own representatives and senators. If constituents do not tell federal policymakers why it is important to make ending homelessness a federal priority, policymakers may never know they need to do so. Just as it is their job to listen to you, it is your job to tell them what your community needs.

As someone who is involved in the homelessness assistance world, you are a critical part of advocacy efforts to secure new and increased resources for ending homelessness. If you work in this field on a daily basis, you are well aware of the challenges that your community  is facing and what it could do with additional resources or new or improved programs. It is up to you to communicate those needs to policymakers. They rely on constituents to understand which issues represent a priority for their community.