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Capitol Hill Day Visits: Using Advocacy to Inform and Engage Stakeholders

28 July 2015

Carline Charmelus is a Policy Analyst at the Partnership for Strong Communities

On July 17, 2015, the Partnership for Strong Communities and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness coordinated and organized the 2015 Capitol Hill Day visits in conjunction with the 2015 National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference. Capitol Hill Day provides conference participants with the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their Members of Congress and their staff while in Washington D.C. to encourage their elected officials to support policy initiatives that work to eliminate homelessness.

This year, we advocated for federal policy priorities that would help towards our effort to end veteran experiencing homelessness by 2015, chronic homelessness by 2016, and family, children, and youth experiencing homelessness by 2022. Participants had the opportunity to communicate and discuss how federal policies impact individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as share statewide accomplishments and innovative work being done in Connecticut to prevent and end homelessness.

During the congressional visits, it became evident how crucial advocacy is in our effort to end homelessness and the role that we all play. Although we were not able to meet directly with the elected officials, we were fortunate to meet with their housing staffs and legislative aides. They were genuinely engaged and interested to learn more about our work and what their offices can do to assist our effort to provide housing solutions and services for individuals experiencing homelessness.

While listening to the participants and legislative staff converse, I came to the realization that advocacy is an invaluable opportunity for us to engage policymakers and extend an invitation to them to join our cause. This work cannot be achieved with only one person or organization. It requires us to work collectively with different sectors, systems, and stakeholders.

As a state co-captain during this year’s Capitol Hill Day, I was proud and felt honored by the diverse group of participants from the different organizations and districts in Connecticut who participated in the congressional visits. Thanks to each participant for taking the time from their busy schedules to advocate for solutions to homelessness.  Thanks also go out to Lisa Tepper-Bates, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, and David Rich, Executive Director of Supportive Housing Works, for acting as leads during the Senate office visits, as well as my co-captain, CCEH’s Sarah Fox, for her guidance throughout this process.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the offices of Senator Christopher Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal, and the offices of House Representatives Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Etsy, Jim Himes, and John Larson for having made this advocacy effort into a truly remarkable experience. I look forward to working with each congressional office as we continue to work to find housing solutions to prevent and end homelessness in the state of Connecticut.

Click here for more information about our advocacy work. 

Click here to access the congressional advocacy fact sheets. 

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