Give Homeless People a Voice on Capitol Hill

written by Julie Klein
May 23, 2013

It’s that time of the year again! And no, we’re not just talking about Memorial Day parades, barbeques, and beach trips. The Alliance’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness, which is held in Washington, DC every July, is quickly approaching! Each year in conjunction with the conference, the Alliance hosts Capitol Hill Day, which provides a unique opportunity for conference participants to meet with members of Congress and their staff while in our nation’s capital. This year, Capitol Hill Day will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24.

Capitol Hill Day allows conference participants to impact federal policy by sharing their on-the-ground experiences working to end homelessness, as well as best practices they have learned about at the conference, with their congressional offices. Policymakers have many issues vying for their attention. So, the goals of Capitol Hill Day are to convince them to make ending homelessness a federal priority, educate them about smart policy solutions, and encourage them to take specific next steps to support these solutions. These face-to-face meetings are highly effective advocacy forums, as they help members of Congress feel more connected to the issue of homelessness in their districts.

Why should YOU participate? Congressional meetings are a critical component of your work to end homelessness in your communities. Especially in the current grim fiscal climate, your program’s capacity to provide housing and services to meet the demand in your community relies on securing adequate resources. These meetings will also help you build relationships with your congressional offices, which can open up opportunities for the future. Plus, it’s easy…really! Anyone who feels passionately about an idea or cause can be an advocate, and as someone who works to end homelessness on a daily basis, you are already an expert on this issue.

How can you get involved? Well, the first step is to register for our conference, if you haven’t done so yet! Register now to ensure a spot (our conferences are increasingly popular!) and avoid late registration fees. To learn more about the extensive content we’ll be covering at our conference, check out the conference agenda and take note of the advocacy track we’re offering. After registering for the conference, get in touch with your State Captain, whose contact information you can find under the “Hill Day Resources” section here. If your state does not have a State Captain and you would like to volunteer to be one, please contact Kate Seif at 202-942-8256 or cseif@naeh.org.

After contacting your state captain, all you need to do is show up and share your wealth of knowledge. The Alliance will make this as easy for you as possible by providing talking points, one-pagers, information about our policy priorities, and the latest legislative updates. To make the most out of your Hill Meetings, you can also attend advocacy-focused workshops during our conference.

If you have questions before arriving in DC or would like more information on Capitol Hill Day, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Julie Klein, at 202-942-8281 or jklein@naeh.org. Alliance staff will also be available throughout the conference to answer any lingering questions you may have ...did I mention this will be easy for you?

There are always a multitude of powerful interests making a lot of noise on Capitol Hill. Don’t miss this chance to give a voice to the most vulnerable members of our society. We hope you are as excited about this year’s Capitol Hill Day as we are, and look forward to seeing you in July!