Archive for May 16th, 2012

16th May
written by Kate Seif

When our blog readers think of Washington, DC, they often think of politics (and politicians, of course), soaring monuments, and hopefully, the Alliance’s advocacy efforts.  But in all seriousness, coming to our nation’s capital is a great opportunity to learn what’s happening with federal policy and to make an impact on it.  We talked last week about how to participate in Capitol Hill Day, but our National Conference on Ending Homelessness also offers a great opportunity to learn more about federal policy and advocacy, including messaging and how-tos.

This year, we’ve got a great track of workshops for anyone who wants to better hone their advocacy skills, for seasoned advocates, for Capitol Hill Day participants, or for folks who are just curious.  Here’s a basic overview of some of the great advocacy workshops we’re planning:

  1. Building a Systems Change Movement: Engaging Local Leaders – This workshop will provide attendees with concrete examples and how tips for getting your local community leaders (elected officials or otherwise) to work together to support and affect positive systems change.
  2. Impacting Policy: Making the Most of your Advocacy Meetings – Ideal for Capitol Hill Day participants, this workshop will cover the nitty-gritty of conducting a meeting with your Member of Congress or their staff.  The lessons imparted will also translate to local and state policymakers or other key stakeholder meetings.
  3. The Federal Budget: Update and Impact on Ending Homelessness – There have been many changes to federal funding and the funding process this year, and these changes may have a big impact on key programs working to end homelessness.  This workshop will give you an update and provide an outlook on what’s next for Congress, and what it means for our nation’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
  4. Impacting Policy: Developing Effective Advocacy Messaging – Getting the right message for the right audience is a key aspect to effective advocacy. This workshop will offer participants successful strategies for developing a policy agenda and what messages work best for key policymakers.
  5. Election 2012: Engaging Consumers, Candidates, and Your Community – the election season will be in full swing following our conference. Elections offer a great opportunity to get involved in the political process and ensure that candidates are aware of the issue of homelessness in their communities.  This workshop will provide ways in which nonprofits can get involved in the election cycle, the importance of doing so, and legal limitations.

These workshops are all scheduled during different slots so you can attend all of them (and we of course encourage you to do so!) For more information on our conference and what you can expect there, check out some of the other recent and upcoming blog posts.

If you have any questions about how to get involved in advocacy at our conference or elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

16th May
written by Sharon McDonald

View Rapid Re-Housing: Ending Family Homelessness in a larger map

On Thursday, the Alliance will host a Congressional Briefing, “Rapid Re-Housing: Ending Family Homelessness.”  The briefing, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, will provide a glimpse in to how rapid re-housing is revolutionizing how we are responding to family homelessness.

Homeless program administrators across the country provided an enthusiastic (shall we say overwhelming?) response to the Alliance’s request for data to help inform the audience about the impact that rapid re-housing is having.  The compelling data the Alliance received is showing the successes communities are having helping families move out of homelessness with rapid re-housing.  A small sample is included below:

  • Alabama rapidly re-housed 431 persons in homeless families through HPRP grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs with a median of 4 months of assistance. Over 80 percent of families assisted with three months of assistance or more exited homelessness for a permanent destination, as did virtually all families provided with less than three months of assistance.
  • Bakersfield and Kern County, California rapidly re-housed over 500 families. The new HPRP-funded prevention and rapid re-housing resources contributed to a 12 percent reduction in family homelessness between 2009 and 2011 despite a persistent double digit unemployment rate.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida has rapidly re-housed 154 homeless families.  Nearly all (96 percent) of the households were re-housed directly from an emergency shelter or domestic violence program and most (69 percent) were re-housed within 30 days of entering shelter.
  • New York City, New York rapidly rehoused 16,500 families with locally-funded housing subsidies and services supported by HPRP.  More than 90 percent of families assisted with rapid re-housing have not re-entered shelter.
  • Rochester, New York has re-housed 286 families with children with HPRP funds.  Twelve months after receiving assistance, 60 percent remain stable in the same housing unit they moved into and less than 5 percent have returned to homelessness.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rapidly re-housed 648 homeless families.  Only 11 households (1.7 percent) have had a subsequent homeless episode.
  • Snohomish County, Washington provided rapid re-housing to 107 homeless families with an average of $1,411 in rental assistance.  Less than 2 percent of families assisted have had a subsequent homeless episode.

It is clear that rapid re-housing is making a difference for families.  It is succeeding.  It is important that proven, cost-effective strategies that end homelessness like rapid re-housing continue to be supported.  The Alliance hopes that you will ask your congressional representatives to join us for the briefing at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 17.  We also ask that you join us in urging Congress to provide at least $2.231 billion for the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Grants Program in FY 2013 so that rapid re-housing programs can continue to serve families