Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day

On Valentine’s Day, over 500 affordable housing advocates from across Washington state gathered in Olympia to let our legislators know that Every Heart Needs a Home. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Washington State Coalition for the Homeless rallied and readied those gathered for Advocacy Day on upcoming legislation and key policies to highlight when speaking with their representatives.

Habitat for Humanity EKC supporters met with our representatives (or, in true busyness of the Capitol, their staff team) from the 45th district: State Senator Andy Hill, State Representative Roger Goodman, and State Representative Larry Springer. Our fantastic housing allies from Hopelink and St. Andrew’s Housing Group joined us in urging them to invest in the Housing Trust Fund.

We took the opportunity to tell legislators first hand why affordable housing and alternative housing solutions are an essential, worthwhile investment for our future and a vital aspect to community development. It was also an opportunity to illuminate the connection stable housing has with other key issues in Olympia such as education and healthcare—we wanted our representatives to understand that the issues they are particularly passionate about are hugely impacted by the home environment.

Legislators, employees, donors, volunteers, and advocates all have a vision of a community that allows individuals and families to thrive. Participating in Advocacy Day was empowering, exciting, and impactful toward this vision. While the day itself was a concentrated effort, we know that advocacy can and should happen year-round (especially during tough economic times as we are hard-pressed to prioritize needs).

We at Habitat EKC encourage you to stay up-to-date on housing legislation and let your representatives know that you care about this issue and they should too! Utilize the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance Advocacy Page education tools and resources to make your opinion heard. Your passion and stories have power—believe the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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