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Ways to Get Involved in Texas Homeless Network's Advocacy

2021 Homelessness Awareness Day

People Talking to each otherDuring the Texas legislative session year, THN hosts Homelessness Awareness Day (HAD) at the Capitol. Advocates from around the state meet at the Capitol for a briefing on legislative priorities, followed by meetings with their legislators. This is a great opportunity to talk to your community representatives and senators about why you believe they should provide responsive, compassionate, legislation to promote an end to homelessness in Texas.

This year, we’re doing things like never before! Due to Coronavirus, this year’s HAD will be all virtual. While we are disappointed to not see you in person, we’re excited at the opportunity of connecting even more people across the state to their legislators. Through Zoom meetings, calls, and training opportunities, we will provide you the tools necessary to speak on behalf of yourself and your community – no matter where you are.

Are You Coming?

When: April 7th, 2020, all-day
Where: Online wherever you are
Who: If you live in Texas, you can participate at no cost

 

Unsure if your nonprofit can participate in Homelessness Awareness Day?
Read the Nonprofits and Lobbying Article and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

2021 Legislative Session

THN leads Texas communities to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. Our vision is that all communities in Texas have a coordinated response system in place to end homelessness. We work on behalf of nearly 1,000 service providers in the state who work day in and day out to end homeless for Texans. 

On any given day, there are more than 27,000 Texans experiencing homelessness in Texas; over 1,900 are families with children. There are over 4,000 children under the age of 18 experiencing homelessness, including more than 100 that are unaccompanied. Sadly nearly 2,000 Veterans, many with families are also homeless. We can do better for our fellow Texans. 

Although these numbers are high, they represent a 26% reduction in Homelessness since 2011. This is because Texas homeless service providers are implementing proven strategies to reduce and end homelessness. However, these programs need sufficient funding and support to continue this progress.

 

Strengthen Homeless Crisis Response Systems

Homeless Crisis Response Systems, or Continuums of Care, end homelessness through the strategic development of systems based on data-driven solutions. These systems can quickly and efficiently use funding to prevent or divert households out of homelessness. Our priorities for strengthening homeless crisis response systems are: 

      • HB 1260 (Bowers) – Data Sharing Network study
      • Bill # TBD – Relating to the continuation of existing funding to the TDHCA HHSP Program

Expand Affordable, Accessible Housing Opportunities

Ending homelessness requires housing. Texas must support the development and rehabilitation of more affordable housing if we want to end homelessness. 

      • SB 265 (West) – Source of Income protections 
      • SB 113 (West) – Relating to community land trusts
      • HB 191 (Bernal) – Prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression 
      • Bill # TBD – Eviction-related protections for at-risk Texans; 

Targeted, intersectional assistance

Recognizing and acting on the disparities particularly affecting people experiencing homelessness/housing insecure folks who are also people of color, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, people with criminal histories, and/or people with disabilities and mental illness. 

      • HB 78 (Reynolds) – diversion programs; the creation of mental health treatment for incarceration diversion pilot program
      • HB 131 (Bernal) the creation of a Medicaid buy-in program for certain low-income individuals through the expansion of Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
      • Bill # TBD – Trauma-informed peace officer training 

Other Important Bills to Support

 
  • SB 114 & 116 (Lucio) – Relating to the establishment of a border public health response team
  • Bill # TBD – related to the availability of forms of identification for people experiencing homelessness 
  • Bill # TBD – supportive housing created through tax credits 

Continue to check in to this page for updated bills and priorities throughout the session.

In addition, be sure to subscribe to our THN advocacy newsletter to stay informed.

The 2021 Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Academy

A flyer for the housing and homelessness academyDo you have lived experience of homelessness or housing insecurity?
Are you passionate about advocacy or want to learn more about advocacy?
 
We are looking for cohort members for our Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Academy launching in 2021. This academy will be a completely free training program for folks with lived experience.
 
Cohort members will learn about organizing, systemic barriers, storytelling, and be able to talk with others across the state!
 

The details:

  • The cohort will run from January – July 2021.  

  • Participants must commit to the full 5-month training cohort. 

  • The monthly time commitment is 5-6 hours with 2 hours of live virtual events.

 
Image of a man holding a green sign that says "Advocate. Educate. Change Lives.". Text on a white background next to the image says "Become a THN Advocate today to protect and expand the rights of those experiencing homelessness in Texas."

Join Our Work as a THN Advocate Today

By joining as THN Advocate today, you are not only showing solidarity with THN’s advocacy work to end homelessness in Texas, you are also adding your voice to our collective statewide movement. No matter the amount you can donate, or the level to which you can participate in our actions, your support is crucial to our work. Without donations like yours, our advocacy would simply not be possible. In order to protect the rights of those experiencing homelessness and promote better policy, we need your help.

Join the movement today to end homelessness tomorrow.
By joining as a champion you will receive:
  • Discounted member registration for THN annual conference
  • Name listed on the Policy section of THN website
  • The opportunity to participate in select committees and task forces
  • THN “Housing Ends Homelessness” t-shirt*
  • A digital toolkit and information about homelessness in Texas
  • Exclusive communication about THN’s statewide initiatives
  • A THN Advocate sticker.*
Donate Now to Become a Champion.
By joining as a leader you will receive:
  • THN staff assistance on local policy issues**
  • Handwritten note from THN statewide initiatives staff
  • The opportunity to participate in select committees and task forces
  • THN “Housing Ends Homelessness” t-shirt*
  • A digital toolkit and information about homelessness in Texas
  • Exclusive communication about THN’s statewide initiatives
  • A THN Advocate sticker.*
Donate Now to Become a Leader.
By joining as a changemaker you will receive:
  • The opportunity to participate in select committees and task forces
  • The chance to engage in statewide dialogue about laws and proposed bills, funding opportunities, and community efforts to end homelessness.
  • A digital toolkit and information about homelessness in Texas
  • Exclusive communication about THN’s statewide initiatives
  • A THN Advocate sticker.*
Donate Now to Become a Changemaker.
By joining as an ally you will receive:
  • A digital toolkit and information about homelessness in Texas
  • Exclusive communication about THN’s statewide initiatives
  • A THN Advocate sticker.*
Donate Now to Become an Ally.
If you are interested in becoming a THN Advocate but are unable to donate, please email us for ways to be involved at no cost!

* Merchandise gifts may take 6-8 weeks to arrive after donation.
* Up to 2 hours of technical assistance per year, per individual

Current COVID-19 Advocacy:

COVID-19 Response:
  • THN signed onto NLIHC’s letter urging Congress to pass the Emergency Renal Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act.
    We urge supporters to join us and sign on today.
  • Staff, THN Advocates, and community partners are participating in a national calling and writing campaign to urge Congress to pass Coronavirus funding bills for homelessness and affordable housing.
  • THN Statewide Initiatives staff pushed a letter to legislators to urge the cancellation of the 2020 CoC NOFA.
  • THN Statewide Initiatives staff sent a letter requesting a 10% increase in CoC funding in the FY 2021 Congressional Budget.
  • THN is working to create Homelessness and COVID-19 Homelessness Education Packet and began work on racial equity response to COVID-19. COVID-19 page for more information.
 
Image text: Don't stop calling! Demand funding for homelessness and affordable housing in the next coronavirus relief package. Advocate with your neighbors and call Congress today!

Current COVID-19 Racial Equity Advocacy:

Racial Equity During COVID-19:

 What we know: 
 
Picture of a black woman with braids with an overlay of speech boxes over her face.
Read More about COVID-19 and Racial Equity in our THN Advocacy Newsletter by Clicking the Picture Above

What We Need to Do to Promote Racial Equity:

Local: City and county leadership must ensure that there are adequate testing locations and healthcare options in communities of color. In addition, municipalities should create local protections for low-income renters, and develop testing policies that promote racial equity.
 
State: Officials must enact stronger and more expansive protections for those in danger of losing their housing, who are disproportionately people of color. Broad, free, and accessible testing must be implemented for all communities across our state. Rent relief and a renewal of the moratorium on evictions should be provided to Texans. View Texas’ COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard here.
 
Federal: Demand Congress to support more rapid response to address homelessness and racial inequities in healthcare and housing, including urging the passage of the Emergency Rental Assistance & Rental Market Stabilization Act.

THN's Additional Current Advocacy Work

  • Statewide Initiatives staff is co-leading monthly meetings of the Texas Housing Coalition, a collaborative working group of statewide agencies invested in protecting housing and increasing affordability in our state.
  • Staff continues to participate in state and national calls to advance legislative efforts for affordable housing, decriminalizing homelessness, and funding for wrap-around homeless services in all communities in Texas.

Over the course of 2020, our country and state experienced unprecedented challenges, resilient successes, and shifts toward a better future. In response to the need for reflection on our past and a look toward our future, THN hosted a live event to bring together voices from around our state.

Watch the recording now to hear from politicians to community advocates, to case managers, as they examine the state of homelessness in Texas and the future ahead.

Speakers included, but are not limited to, Beto O’Rourke, Julie Oliver, Rep. William Hurd, Greg Casar, Officer Kyle Moore, Nan Roman, Robert Salas, Eric Samuels, Mayor Anthony Williams, Dr. David Woody, Diane Yentel, and Kristin Zakoor.

THN Policy Stances & Press Releases

In an effort to create a strong and unified voice, THN has led efforts to create statewide policy stances on issues surrounding homelessness. We invite individuals and communities to use these sample press releases as templates in advocating at a local, state, or federal level. We ask that when you use our language, please let us know when and where you are sharing the message. 

Press Releases

Past Public Statements on HUD Proposed Changes

2019 Legislative Session Work

In 2019, Texas Homeless Network had one of our most successful legislative session, thanks to many of our THN Advocates, community partners, and staff. With close to 100 participants during our Homelessness Awareness Day (HAD), and countless others during the session, THN met over 85% of all offices in the Texas legislature. These meetings during session and during HAD sparked crucial conversations and shifted the minds of legislators and staffers to homelessness as an issue to care about in their communities.

In each meeting, THN staff and advocates reviewed our legislative priorities agenda which supported many successes by the end of the session, including witnessing SB 234 and SB 289 being signed into law.

THN’s main efforts focused on HB 3180 and SB 1116. While both were left pending in committee we learned valuable lessons on navigating our legislative processes. We feel proud of our efforts and hopeful for next session. Read more about this year’s HAD on the THN blog.

Above shot of participants of Homelessness Awareness Day in their matching blue shirts that say "Housing Ends Homelessness" in the Texas Capitol rotunda.

2019 Legislation & HAD Materials

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