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Posts Tagged ‘Membership’

Why Membership Matters to Steve Thomas:

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

Steve Thomas is a member of NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau and an active advocate for the rights of homeless citizens. Read his story and hear why Membership Matters to him:

“I first became involved with NCH almost five years ago. After being addicted to drugs and alcohol for forty years and having had that lead to my living on the streets of DC, homeless, for almost two years, an outreach worker found me and got me into treatment. While undergoing treatment, I was introduced to a speaker from NCH that introduced me to the organization. Immediately I realized that NCH respected me as a human being. That my past addiction issues and homelessness didn’t matter in my assessment as a person. I learned that we all had a story, and that the telling of that story of my addiction leading to homelessness could be used to educate the public. To put a face to homelessness was an essential tool in the war to end homelessness. What I didn’t know or expect was the boost to my self-esteem (which had been very low my entire life) and the first time feeling of self-worth.

NCH ignited and fueled my passion for homeless advocacy. NCH taught me to be self respectful and to expect that of others. The last five years of being a member of NCH and being a speaker with the NCH “Faces of Homelessness” Speakers Bureau has made me a better person, a more concerned person, a more informed person and a more caring person. All this has allowed me to be a forceful advocate for the homeless, THE FORGOTTEN CITIZENS.”

Find your voice and support men and women like Steve by joining NCH and make your Membership Matter!

Why Membership Matters to Jeremy Haile:

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy

For the Membership Matters campaign, we have asked our current members why they support NCH.  In today’s installment, current Board Member Jeremy Haile shares his 15 year history with NCH, and talks about why he continues to support NCH:

“Some fifteen years ago, Michael Stoops came to Midland,Texas, and it changed my life. Midland is a town known more for its oil bust than for its political activism.  But that’s where I first heard Michael speak about the acute problem of homelessness, its causes, and what could be done to address it.  Michael was like a prophetic voice in the wilderness.  His intelligence and passion awakened in me a desire to join the fight for justice for marginalized people.

I doubt this story is unusual.  For decades, the National Coalition for the Homeless has been bringing attention to one of our nation’s greatest injustices — that too many people do not have a home.  Thanks to NCH, thousands of people, young and old, have been awakened to this challenge.  Many have made addressing homelessness their life’s work.  When NCH was established, federal funding for emergency shelters and affordable housing barely existed.  Now, thanks largely to NCH, such funds provide homes and services to people and families who need them.

Though much work remains to be done, the National Coalition for the Homeless is committed to protecting those who don’t have a home and fighting until all of us do.  NCH is truly the voice of and for the homeless.  That’s why I am honored to support them.”

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!

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