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Advocate

Here are some ways you might help:

  • Become a member of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware.  By becoming a member of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware you will receive email updates about advocacy efforts locally and nationally. 
  • Respond to HPC's Legislative Alerts.  These alerts give the most up-to-date information about what is happening that affects homelessness and poverty on a local and national level, and what you can do about it.  Then write letters, e-mail, call, or visit public officials at the city, county, state and federal levels asking what they are doing about homelessness and/or mentioning relevant legislation. When legislators receive more than a few visits or letters about any subject, they sit up and take notice.  Personal visits are the most powerful; letters, e-mails, and phone calls are next. 
  • Follow local politics. Attend neighborhood and public meetings and speak up in favor of low-income housing, group homes, shelters, and homelessness prevention programs.
  • Educate your leaders. Organize site visits for political leaders and the media to visit local homeless programs to highlight ways that your community is successfully addressing the many problems associated with homelessness.
  • Involve the media. Call or write the media to inform them of your concern for people experiencing homelessness in your area.  Write editorials when important issues related to homelessness arise in your community.
  • Encourage those most directly involved to advocate. Encourage people experiencing homelessness, agency volunteers, and staff to contact officials at all levels of government.  Use opportunities like special holiday meals to do this—provide paper, pens, stamped envelopes, and sample messages at every meeting and event.  Have a "Call In Day."  Try getting a few people with cellular phones to go to shelters or meal programs to get people experiencing homelessness, volunteers, and staff to call the Governor (Mayor, Council Member...) asking them to stop future cuts in essential services. 
  • Get involved with a local street newspaper.  Street newspapers educate the general public about homelessness while providing people experiencing homelessness with a creative outlet to have their articles, photos, artwork, and poetry published and providing employment opportunities as vendors and writers. Delaware’s street newspaper, One Step Away, can be picked up at Connections’ Homeless Outreach Center at 8th and Washington Streets in Wilmington.
  • Join national advocacy groups.  The following is a list of national advocacy groups for the homeless and those who at-risk of homelessness.
  • Sponsor a Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.  National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness (NSCAHH) co-sponsor an Awareness Week every year during the first full week before Thanksgiving.  Awareness weeks are organized in more than 500 campuses and communities nationwide.  For more information or to order this year’s organizing guide, contact Michael Stoops at NCH at (202) 462-4822 x19 or mstoops@nationalhomeless.org, or NSCAHH at (800) NO-HUNGR or info@studentsagainsthunger.org.
  • Recognize National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.  Every year, on the first day of winter (December 21), nearly 100 communities nationwide hold local memorial services to remember people who have died homeless during that year.  Contact the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware to learn more about this year’s events in Delaware.
  • Become more aware of your language.  Try to minimize language in your own and others’ vocabularies that refers to people experiencing homelessness in derogatory ways.  By using expressions such as “people experiencing homelessness” rather than labels such as “bum,” “transient,” or even “the homeless,” we remind ourselves that people who are in such situations are still people first—just people who are going through a difficult period in their lives.  In a time when they may find it difficult to hold onto their sense of humanity, it is particularly important that we do not use language that further diminishes the dignity of people in homeless situations.