Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days: The Art of Storytelling

 

Sarah Fox, Manager of Advocacy and Community Impact Initiatives, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness and the Partnership for Strong Communities will hold the 2015 Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days at the State Capitol on Wednesday, April 1st  and Thursday, April 2nd from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. This second annual event mobilizes community providers, housing advocates, and supporters.  It provides an opportunity for legislators and their staff to learn about the important work to prevent and end homelessness in their legislative districts and across Connecticut.

Last year, during the final hours of the 2014 Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days, I listened as a homeless Veteran shared his story with legislators. He shared how he had worked his entire life, and never thought he would become homeless. As he spoke, I watched the legislators from his region lean in, listen, and reflect on his story.

There is no doubt in my mind that the story he shared resonated with policymakers. His voice, though quiet and reserved, served as a gentle reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone. His story spoke to the trials and tribulations shared by countless homeless individuals and families across the state.

This year, I encourage everyone participating in the 2015 Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Days to think long and hard about the importance of storytelling. The right story has the potential to tap into emotions, influence beliefs, and shape policy decisions. What is more, when the clients we serve find their voice, they effect change and help legislators to better understand the importance of investing in housing solutions. 

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