How to Effectively Work with Federal, State, and Local Leaders

May 20, 2020  |  Toolkits and Training Materials

Regular engagement with elected officials is critical to any community’s efforts to end homelessness. Programs depend on federal, state, and local funding, so it is essential to regularly educate policymakers that investing in ending homelessness is good for their community.

This toolkit provides resources to help you and the people in your homelessness system communicate with elected officials and other policymakers.  It provides context for the federal budgeting cycle, guidance on how to engage with policymakers, and tools to effectively make contact and elevate homelessness as a priority issue.

Why We Advocate



Every year, the Alliance and its partners work to educate Congress on increasing federal funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants. This program provides essential dollars to the local systems that respond to homelessness. Without it, those systems would not be able to do their work.

Concerned advocates from communities all over the nation bring this effort to life.  Here’s why it matters >>>

Understanding the Federal Budget Cycle

The federal budget cycle can seem long and complex. The following graphics clarify the different phases of the cycle, and provide guidance on how to effectively educate and engage with your Members of Congress during each step. Download and share these materials with the advocates in your community, to build better understanding of how the process works.

Phase 1: Congress Sets Overall Federal Spending Levels 
Phase 2: Congress Sets HUD Funding 
Phase 3: Congress Sets Funding for Homeless Assistance Programs 


Keeping Members of Congress Engaged in Your Work

Starting and Maintaining a Relationship

Consistent communication with your Members of Congress is a must. Learn how to make your organization their go-to resource on housing and homelessness issues.

How to Maintain Relationships with Your Congressional Offices >>>


Hosting a Site Visit

Hosting a site visit is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate the impacts your programs have on the community. Learn how to host a site visit that will make a lasting impression on your federal, state, and local elected officials.

How to Host a Site Visit for a Member of Congress >>>


Take Action Now

People in your community have an important voice when Congress is considering funding and other bills that will affect homelessness. Share the Alliance’s “Take Action” page with your local advocates so they can quickly and easily contact their Members of Congress.

Active Legislation 

View bills currently being considered in Congress, sort by issue area, and learn more about what each bill can do to end homelessness.