Today we’re excited to start a series called “Advocacy How-To.” In this series, you’ll find tips, tools, and strategies to conduct your own advocacy and get involved in Alliance advocacy campaigns. Today’s post is from Alliance program & policy associate, Amanda Krusemark.
To some, advocacy can be a scary idea, often viewed as something other people will handle. But really, advocacy is just the active support of an idea or cause. I spearhead the Alliance’s grassroots advocacy work, and the best part of my job is that I get to see people’s hard work, their advocacy efforts, pay off. Time and again, I’ve seen U.S. Senators and Representatives reverse course on homelessness policy because of feedback from their constituents, people like you.
Advocacy plays a huge role in our collective efforts to end homelessness because it works. One of the realities of this collective effort is that we all depend on resources, and we know that even with the best program models and innovations, we won’t be able to actually end homelessness without sufficient federal, state, and local resources. The way to get more resources is to convince your policymakers to provide them.
That’s where you can come in. Just as it is the job of Members of Congress and other policymakers to represent their constituents’ priorities, it’s your job as a constituent to tell them what those priorities are.
I often hear people say “I’d love to be an advocate, but I just don’t think I’d be any good at it.” I’m here to tell you that that’s just not true! Congressional offices depend on citizen experts and supporters to explain how programs work and why they’re so important in the community. Believe it or not, when it comes to ending homelessness, you are an expert! Your interest in the field and your understanding of the issue in your district or state gives you the necessary knowledge to advocate for these programs.
All you have to do is talk about why this issue matters to you and how important this work is to your community, and – voilà – you’re an advocate!
It really is almost that simple. To help you learn more about advocacy and give you the confidence to get involved we’re launching a new blog series to dive into this important topic and show you just how easy it is. In the rest of this series, we’ll examine other myths, like the idea that you’re not allowed to do lobbying or advocacy, as well as provide some easy how-to tips for getting involved in efforts like our current campaign to increase funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and others. In any economic or political climate, advocacy is what can get us new and additional resources to prevent and end homelessness.
We just need your help to make it happen!
Stay tuned to this series to learn more and check out our Advocacy page on our website for more information.
Photo courtesy of WordPress Art.