Advocacy for the Homeless – Paper
The number of homeless people in America is alarming. There is an extremely high need for advocacy for the homeless population. “It’s estimated that approximately 3. 5 million people in the United States, 1. 35 million of them children (nearly 40%), are likely to experience homelessness this year” (Murphy, 2009). About 23% of the homeless population is veterans. The first thing an advocate would need to do is to educate themselves on the issues and facts of the population. They need to know things like how and why people have become homeless to get a better understanding.
It is also a good idea to spend some firsthand time with the population, maybe in shelters or soup kitchens. They need to also talk with other advocates and service providers for the homeless to understand the needs and what has worked in the past. This is to get advice from others who have helped before you so that you have a better sense of what you need to do to move forward. Education is key to affectively advocating. After becoming educated on the needs of the homeless population and service workers for the population in the community, the next step would be to create a plan of action.
Part of the plan of action would be to join other local advocates in the community or local coalition. Together, go to the local government officials because that is where the funding comes from. An advocate would need to attend meetings and be a voice for the low income housing programs, prevention, shelters, and other programs that provide service. Seek the support of faith congregations, care providers, and veterans groups. Then follow up with officials by correspondence for decisions. Meet with legislator officials can be crucial. Making it personal can make a big difference.
Bringing the facts of the problem and information on what is specifically needed to work on a resolution. The manner should be professional and respectful in person and written documentation should be left with them as well as a written follow up and thank you. If bringing other advocates to meet with legislators, do not bring more than four or five. More than that is too many and would be less personal and more like a mob. Local media such as news channels, radio, and news papers can be a wonderful way to create awareness in the public and to help with the promoting the cause.
Making sure that the message is clear on what needs to be accomplished is important. Another way to get the homeless needs heard is to help them register to vote. Even without having a home, they can still have a voice in the voting booth. They need to know they are not helpless. Some of the needs of the homeless include services such as medical, dental, food, employment, transportation, short term housing, and long term housing. There are many agencies in the community that offer help with obtaining those services.
Funding is crucial to keep these services available. That is a need that the advocates promote. The National Coalition for the homeless is a great place to start for anyone looking to get involved. There is a very user friendly web site at www. nationalhomeless. org with lots of useful information on how to get involved in your own community. References Murphy, K. (2009). What is your Reaction?. Retrieved August 16, 2011 from: http://www. huffingtonpost. com/ Webster’s Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved August 16, 2011 from: http://www. webster-dictionary. org/