By David Aguilar, Statewide Initiatives Program Assistant
We are thrilled with the success of our largest Homeless Awareness Day (HAD) in the history of Texas Homeless Network (THN). Last week, THN hosted our Advocacy Day to end homelessness with over 100 participants, doubling our record from last Session in 2017.
From morning to late afternoon, constituents from around the state met with their State Senator and Representative to discuss homelessness from both a state and local level. Thanks to the efforts of our participants traveling from as far as El Paso, we are proud to say our hopes and concerns were heard by 73% of all offices for the Senate. Here at THN, we cannot thank you all enough. None of this would have been possible without the help of every person who contributedâ€” those who spread the word, those who could not travel but called their legislators, and especially those who made the journey to personally talk to our legislators. Words cannot express the commitment and determination made by our participants to make their voices heard and let me tell youâ€”it worked.
After several weeks of requesting a hearing with limited success, THN-led House Bill 3180 was given a hearing Friday morningâ€”the day after Homelessness Awareness Day. House Bill 3180, a bill created to establish a pilot centralized homelessness crisis response data system, is being heard thanks to our participantsâ€™ overwhelming support. Through HB 3180, we will create a data sharing network that will allow Texasâ€™ 11 homeless crisis response systems to communicate more effectively and quickly assist households at-risk or experiencing homelessness.
This year, Homelessness Awareness Day cemented our belief that advocacy can work. You can help sustain these efforts year-round by investing in our advocacy. We invite you to join us as a THN Advocate so that we can continue to do this vital work and expand our reach to policymakers and community members. Each stride we make is a step closer to ending homelessness within Texas. With your help, we will make a bigger impact at both the federal and state level. We look forward to making the 87th Texas Legislative Session in 2021 an even bigger success!