Strategies for Educating Members of Congress about Homelessness

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Advocacy Resource | January 14, 2011

Files: PDF | 70 KB | 2 pages

As the 112th Congress gets underway and begins to make key decisions about policies and programs impacting people experiencing and at risk of homelessness, it is critical to ensure that our Members of Congress (Members) understand the issue of homelessness – who it affects, its causes, and its solutions.

The Alliance is launching a national effort with its partners across the country to educate new and returning Members about the importance of making it a federal priority to prevent and end homelessness.

Begin developing or improving relationships with your senators and representatives NOW. Introduce yourself and get to know them. If you already have a relationship with a Member, work to strengthen it.

The best strategies for educating and building relationships with Members will vary person to person. If you would like to work with the Alliance to develop a targeted strategy that makes sense for you, your organization, and your Member, please contact Amanda Krusemark at akrusemark@naeh.org or Kate Seif at cseif@naeh.org.

Although each Member would benefit from a personalized strategy, there are some key steps that you can take over the coming weeks and months to begin educating your elected officials about the importance of ending homelessness. This brief suggests some steps that you can take toward ensuring your Member understands the issues mot important to you.

Suggested strategies explored in the brief include:

  • Look at the history and background of your Members.
  • Schedule a meeting with the appropriate staff member in the district or DC office.
    • Identify one or two federal policy priorities to discuss.
    • Prepare a one-pager on homelessness in your Member’s district.
  • Invite the Member and his/her staff to visit your program.
  • If you first meet with staff members in the district offices, ask them who the appropriate contacts in the Members’ DC offices would be and introduce yourself to them.
  • Watch for advocacy opportunities from the Alliance.