Attending Our Homelessness Conference? Here’s Your Chance to Talk to Congress

Here at the Alliance we’re gearing up for our annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, DC, which will take place this Wednesday, July 15, to Friday, July 17. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you there!

As you may already be aware, the Alliance holds a Capitol Hill Day each year in conjunction with our July conference. It’s a chance for our conference attendees to visit Capitol Hill where they can meet face-to-face with their Senators and Representatives and congressional staffers. This year we’re holding the event on Friday, July 17.

If you’re an advocate who’s dedicated to ending homelessness and have the know-how to educate Congress on the nature of homelessness in your community, this event is not to be missed. We need you there to tell Congress how they can improve federal policy to assist your efforts to end it.

We’re asking advocates to relay a key point: the role that federal funding plays in enabling communities like yours to make progress toward ending homelessness.

Since spending levels for federal homeless programs haven’t been finalized yet for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2016), we want members of Congress to be aware of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these programs as well as how they contribute to local progress, and the acute need for them.

Increased funding is not our only focus, though. For a full list of the Alliance&rsquorsquo;s policy priorities, including recommended funding levels for key programs in FY 2016 and other related policy asks, see this resource: Capitol Hill Day 2015: Federal Policy Priorities to End Homelessness.

We want this year’s Hill Day to be as much of a success as last year’s, when volunteers serving as State Captains from 33 states organized more than 200 congressional meetings, and more than 235 participants participated in those meetings.

This week we want to ensure that experts in the field (if you’re attending our conference, that’s YOU!) establish fruitful relationships with their congressional offices and keep the issue of homelessness on their radars.

So how can you get involved?

Assuming you’re attending the conference, the next step is to get in touch with your State Captain. State Captains take the lead in each state. They schedule the hill meetings, coordinate participants, and ensure that the right policy priorities are covered in each meeting. To find your State Captain, check out our 2015 State Captains list.

The Alliance works hard to make sure your participation in Capitol Hill Day is as painless and straightforward as possible. Your State Captains will schedule all the meetings, and we will provide you with the talking points, one-pagers, Capitol Hill updates and other information that you need for your meetings.

You can already find many of these materials on our Capitol Hill Day 2015 page. During the conference, we’ll be providing even more at the Advocacy Information table across from the Registration area, which is also where members of our advocacy team will be available to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have.

Finally, we’re encouraging everyone who is participating to attend a conference micro-session on Thursday, July 16 from 3:45 to 4:30 pm. This micro-session, “2.10 Capitol Hill Day 2015: What You Need to Know,” will provide participants with a quick rundown of Hill Day logistics and policy priorities.

After that, it’s as simple as attending your state prep session, the times of which are listed in the program journal and will be posted at the Advocacy Information Table at the conference, and then attending some of the hill meetings that your State Captain has organized for advocates from your state.

If you can bring to your meetings a one-pager that shows what homelessness looks like in your community, or any press clips highlighting your progress, or inspirational write ups about your program housing someone, we strongly encourage you to do so. (Though it’s by no means a requirement.)

We’re also encouraging participants is to close meetings with an invitation to your members of Congress to visit your program while they are home for the August recess so they can see firsthand the impacts your programs are having. And please remember to report back to us on how your meetings went!

Capitol Hill Day is an exciting opportunity for all involved to bring their experience and knowledge to the Hill. As advocates, it’s our responsibility to ensure our nation’s leaders are aware of the issue of homelessness and the policies that will help us end it. We look forward to seeing you in just a couple of days!

If your state doesn’t have a State Captain, and you would like to volunteer as one, or for more information on Capitol Hill Day, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Julie Klein (202-942-8281,