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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Why Membership Matters to Joe Finn

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Speakers' Bureau

As the president and executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors at NCH, Joe Finn strongly believes in the power of an individual’s story. Mr. Finn’s Membership Matters because he supports NCH as an organization that gives homeless and formerly homeless citizens a platform to speak their minds and become advocates.

How did you first become involved with the National Coalition for the Homeless? In what ways do you continue to be involved with the Coalition? 

I first became involved in NCH through the outreach and advocacy of the Executive Director, Neil Donovan.  I wish to continue with my governance responsibility as a board member and I want to stay engaged in focusing NCH’s representing an authentic voice for homeless persons.

How do you interact with NCH? In what ways do you benefit from your membership at NCH?

I interact with NCH first and foremost as a member of the board. I hope I am assisting the CEO and staff toward implementing a broader vision that represents an authentic voice for persons who are or have experienced homelessness. My greatest benefit has been as a VISTA project host site.  The Speakers Bureau has limitless potential in developing the leadership capacity of homeless and formerly homeless persons in affecting real social change as it relates to homelessness.

To support the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau and other NCH VISTA projects nationwide, become a member of NCH today! (click here for more information)

Why Membership Matters to Youth

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Youth

Through being a member of NCH, find out how you can help LGBTQ youth deal with the risk of homelessness. Here is some insight from our summer intern, Meghana Sthanam.

This summer, I am fortunate to be able to advocate for a problem I am truly passionate about: the disproportionately large number of LGBT individuals facing homelessness everyday. I’m originally from Birmingham, Alabama, where, almost unsurprisingly, you find a sizable population of LGBT youth without consistent housing. Most live with friends or stay at clubs, hoping to find a bed for the night by whatever means. Although I recognized the problem, after joining NCH, I realized this is a problem that plagues the entire country. In the general population, 3-5% of people self-identify as LGTBQ. Furthermore, studies have shown that the homeless LGBTQ youth population in theU.S.can be as high as 40%, almost half of the entire homeless population. It’s easy to see that young LGBTQ individuals inherently face greater risks of homelessness and discrimination simply by identifying themselves as a different sexual orientation or gender identity. I believe this issue deserves as much attention as other LGBTQ issues, such as gay marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; we cannot continue with this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thinking that has pervaded our culture.

There are so many ways our members can help. For those involved with shelters, whether an employee or shelter resident, using positive language to create a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals is essential.  By simply avoiding derogatory thoughts and actions, you can make a person feel more welcome, especially when that person is coming from a climate in which acceptance is lacking. For our youth members still in school: be a friend! The numbers show that an extremely high percentage of homeless LGBTQ have experienced harassment and abuse within their home and school. Thus, reaching out a friendly hand can make a huge difference in someone’s life. For individuals working with law enforcement, LGBTQ youth compose 13-15% of those currently in the juvenile justice system, often because of the school-to-prison pipeline, abandonment by their family or victimization in their schools. Lastly, to all our members: please continue to be an advocate!

Occupy Homelessness: A News Update

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Civil Rights, Criminalization

While Occupy movements across the country have been forced to relocate from parks and have become less visible to communities and the media, many Occupiers have been finding creative ways to use their protests to assist community members who are un-housed or at risk of losing their homes.  In December, we asked that the Occupy movement remember the lowest 1%, and we’re seeing the response:

After an April 1st march to preserve the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness, Occupy San Francisco occupied a vacant building, calling for more housing and resources for people in the city without homes.

With so many cities having already passed, or currently considering, legislation to limit the ability of people who are homeless to sleep in public areas, Occupy Nashville held a “sleep-in” to protest an anti-camping law that had been signed by the Tennessee governor in March.

And finally, foreclosures are continuing at an alarming rate.  Occupy Our Homes recently assisted a District of Columbia resident in preventing her eviction.

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