Today’s post comes to us from Amanda Krusemark, policy and program associate at the Alliance.
Here, I’m called a “program and policy associate,” and in other organizations, I might be called a “grassroots mobilizer.” Basically, it’s my job to spearhead the Alliance’s advocacy work with our local partners across the country. Together, we make the case to federal policymakers that preventing and ending homelessness should be a federal priority.
Like you might imagine, this work involves a lot of letter-writing, meeting with policymakers, site visits, you name it, but a key – and often overlooked – component of advocacy is working with the media.
At a fundamental level, advocacy is really about education – educating policymakers about a problem and pushing a specific solution. And the reach and role of the media is a perfect medium to do just that – educate people about homelessness.
Recently, we launched a Media Campaign around the release of The State of Homelessness in America. We collaborated with providers, public officials, and consumers across the country to use the report to help leverage local media attention on the issue.
The results were astounding! We have been absolutely bowled over the results our local partners generated – so far, more than 50 unique stories in 20 different states have run in the last two weeks mentioning our report. Some stories focus primarily on the release of the report and homelessness data; many, however, refer to the report in context or pressing local and national issues, including youth homelessness, unemployment, local plans, and other associated topics.
And this, of course, is the best of both worlds. The goal of the campaign is to raise public understanding and awareness of homelessness and the solutions to the problem. However members of the press choose to use this report, we’re still promoting the issue in the public eye.
And the best part of the campaign? We’re not done yet. Many of our partners are still working steadfastly to pitch the report to reporters and we have every intention to keep analyzing and sharing different sections of the report over the course of the year with friends, colleagues, advocates, and – yes – members of the press.
The thing about democracy is this: policymakers pay attention to what matters to their communities. They pay attention to their constituency and the good politicians surmise the values and concerns of their constituency and act upon them. These articles have helped raise awareness of homelessness – a national tragedy that has long haunted the American landscape.
All thanks to you!
Keep up the great work, everyone! And, as always, thank you for helping end homelessness in America.