Last week, advocates from across the country participated in Capitol Hill Day 2012 in conjunction with the Alliance’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, DC. Hundreds of conference attendees took advantage of the fact that they were in the nation’s capital to meet with their congressional delegations and educate them about homelessness in their communities and the ways in which federal policy can better support local efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
This is the third Capitol Hill Day I have planned in my time at the Alliance, and the level of participation and the dedication of this year’s conference attendees have made it the most impressive by far. Results and “report-backs” from meetings are still trickling in, so it’s too early to announce the full results of Capitol Hill Day 2012. I urge you to keep an eye on this blog next month for a full summary of the event and its immediate impact.
In the meantime, I’d like to highlight some preliminary results that we do have. Advocates attended a record of about 280 congressional meetings – an increase of about 22 percent compared to just two years ago. That’s incredible! And nearly 70 of those were with members of congress.
We are still calculating precisely how many people participated in all of these meetings, but the statistic I am most excited to share is this: participants from a record-breaking 44 states attended congressional meetings. This means that representatives from almost every one of the 47 states represented at the conference went to Capitol Hill last week to educate policymakers on the importance of ending homelessness.
As many of you know, next week will be my last at the Alliance, as my husband and I are moving to Boston so I can pursue a graduate degree. While I’m excited about this new chapter in my life, it is a bittersweet moment. I cannot possibly describe how much I will miss working with all the incredible practitioners, state and local officials, and other stakeholders I have come to know over the past several years.
It has been a true inspiration for me to see the dedication people in this field have to ending homelessness. While not all of the people with whom I have worked would describe themselves as advocates, they have demonstrated an impressive talent for educating policymakers about the role they must play in our efforts to end homelessness.
I will miss working with many of you on a daily basis, but this year’s Capitol Hill Day is just one more piece of evidence of the homeless assistance field’s strength, capacity, and commitment to ensuring that no man, woman, or child experiences homelessness.