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Advocacy as the foundation and future of ending homelessness

Advocacy means the opportunity to cultivate conversations in intentional and meaningful ways. Through advocacy, we can engage in policymaking, promote community equity work, and critically analyze the ways in which we can create a better and more just country. As THN’s Statewide Initiatives Coordinator, I have a direct role with THN Advocates in ensuring that advocacy on Texas homelessness does not leave conversations, in and out of the Capitol.

Without the long, rich, history of advocacy that comes before us, much of our work would not be possible. It is easy to forget that before concerted effort, youth homelessness was not protected or recognized, domestic violence survivors weren’t safely housed, and supportive housing wasn’t an option. The list of advocacy’s impact on our work and our neighborhoods is extensive and impressive. These shifts of understanding and funding, took place thanks to the diligence of those working to end homelessness. What we know is that there is not progress without consistent accountability maintained through community. Moving forward, as we recognize the power of advocacy, we have to remember the motivations we have for continuing to support advocacy

And while advocacy is often associated with lobbying, it encompasses so many more actions. We advocate when we talk about certain bills or interact with our legislators, but it is the daily agenda of connecting with other humans about how to best support them and their agency that is so powerful. These conversations are happening around Texas about city laws, community standards, best practices in shelters, and intentional empowerment for those with lived experience. These conversations are countless and it is our hope at Texas Homeless Network that we all continue to show up and deepen our commitment to this work.

THN is working toward a model of year-round advocacy in bigger ways with a broader reach. With all the reasons we highlighted and many more are the reasons we feel it urgent to do advocacy. Our dreams extend to hosting an advocates task force, continuing year-round relationships with legislators, city ordinance support throughout Texas, best practice training with programs, and hiring advocates to work around the state. These dreams will not come to fruition without the support of our communities committing to this effort. We know that funding advocacy is challenging, and we have to invest in having our voices heard.

Contribute toward our advocacy by joining as a THN Advocate today:

https://www.thn.org/policy-advocacy/

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