Funding for critical housing and homeless services will surely be in jeopardy as legislators tackle a tough budget scenario due to reduced revenues, increased need and the implementation of the McCleary decision. Staff from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will brief participants on ways faith communities can stay on top of critical legislation, including tips on the best way to connect with elected officials during the session.

Guests Include:

Brianna Thomas, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

Honah Thompson, Social Justice Intern, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

Elise DeGooyer, Co-Director, FAN (Faith Action Network)

Workshop Materials:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

Faith Communities & Advocacy – What are the rules???

You can speak on behalf of people in need through advocacy and lobbying activities – you just need to stay away from specific POLITICAL activities/ Campaigning (i.e. endorsing a political candidate).

Here’s an easy way to think about the differences:

Advocacy = speaking or acting on behalf of yourself or another person or cause.

Lobbying = supporting and speaking out on behalf of a specific bill, budget or ballot measure.

Political Activities/ Campaigning= endorsing or speaking on behalf of a specific candidate for public office.

We all need to advocate if we want to end homelessness. There are so many ways you can get involved…

Here’s a great place to start:  http://www.nationalhomeless.org/want_to_help/index.html#a

Advocacy Tool Kit – Know the Rules http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/3706

IRS Regulations: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161131,00.html

An Advocacy Day (also known as a Lobby Day) is a day for like-minded individuals to collectively educate and move their elected representatives to act in those constituents’ interests on a particular bill, set of bills, budgetary decisions, etc.

Join hundreds of advocates to Olympia to advocate for our state legislative agenda and to forward the mission of ending homelessness by making sure all our residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.

While Advocacy Days are extremely essential in our work, we also recognize that ending homelessness takes consistent and dedicated advocacy and mobilization throughout the entire year. This is why many of our partners offer a variety of tools to help people advocate to their legislator year-round. Where do I start? The following are local advocacy groups that offer you an opportunity to engage in efforts to end family homelessness.  Please explore these well-respected advocacy groups and consider joining their efforts.

Statewide Efforts

  • CAIR Washington CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims,and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
  • FAN – Faith Action Network is a faith-inspired statewide partnership striving for a just, compassionate, and sustainable world through community building, education, and courageous public action. After years of prayerful discernment, Faith Action Network was created in the summer of 2011 by the union of two organizations with long histories of success and dedicated supporters: the Washington Association of Churches, a historical ecumenical agency, and the Lutheran Public Policy Office, the highly effective advocacy arm of the State’s largest Protestant denomination.
  • Firesteel is your platform for social change, led by Washington YWCAs. A community of shared knowledge with a commitment to end homelessness in Washington State, we believe we can make a difference.
  • WLIHA – Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is the statewide champion for affordable housing, leading the movement to ensure that all our residents thrive in safe, healthy, affordable homes. We do this through advocacy, education, and organizing. We tell the housing story. We advocate for positive policy change. We mobilize people to make a difference.
  • Washington State Catholic Conference The WSCC sponsors the Catholic Advocacy Network to enable participants to become informed about legislative issues in light of Catholic social teaching and to become engaged in the political process.

Regional Efforts

  • FAITH (Faith Action In Transforming Homelesness) A faith-based program created to end homelessness in Washington State. We focus on political advocacy and getting people of faith involved in direct service.
  • Church Council of Greater Seattle We sow the seeds of social change by working in partnership with congregations and individuals alike to speak and stand up for social justice and for systematic change.  We can arrange for educational discussions of social justice issues.  Invite us to worship, a temple talk, coffee hour, Bible Study, forum or a discussion.
  • Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness Beyond the One Night Count is a two hour training that takes you  through “Advocacy 101,” a FUN training with the incomparable pro-democracy cheerleader Nancy Amidei. Together with local experts and allies, we present the facts about 3-4 important proposals, along with simple actions and sample messages. You will leave informed and inspired with tools for engaging your classmates, fellow congregants, neighbors and others to speak up and make a difference.
  • Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness Provides training and information about advocacy around homelessness and poverty.
  • Associated Ministries Associated Ministries is a Christian, ecumenical organization that partners with more than 250 Pierce County churches and interfaith partners to unite people of faith to build stronger communities.

 

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