Local, state and federal elected officials are more likely to focus on ending homelessness if they understand how it affects people and programs in the area they represent. The more they hear from constituents about how programs are preventing and ending homelessness, the more likely they are to act. It's up to us to convince our elected officials to take action!
Contribute to a national social movement
To end homelessness, we must as a society solve the complex issues that contribute to the root causes of homelessness -- behavioral and mental health; substance use and abuse; cycles of poverty; unaffordable, unsafe housing; criminalizing of activities rather than access to critical services.
GET IN THE KNOW
Be equipped with facts and information to engage in as many organic conversations with each other as possible -- advocacy begins with awareness and there is no more critical time in our national history than now to voice our experiences, our realities, and most importantly, our solutions to complex societal issues. Join AZCEH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as we strengthen our public awareness message about the work being done and left to do to end homelessness, and add to the conversation by sharing your stories with us and others so we can truly begin building bridges.
- The cycles of poverty and food insecurity in our state are worthy of our attention.
- 3,475 single adults are homeless in Arizona (Source).
- 2,102 families are homeless in Arizona (Source).
- 29,537 teens and children are homeless or living unstably housed in Arizona (Source).
- 77% of those experiencing homelessness in Arizona are within Maricopa & Pima Counties (Phoenix & Tucson)
- For the last 30 years, more than 20% of the populations of both Apache & Navajo County have lived in poverty (Source).
- 26% of Arizona's reported homeless populations are chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced homelessness for one year or longer and a disabling medical, mental, or addictive condition (Source).
- Nearly 36% of the adult homeless population in Arizona are 45 years or older. Declining health among the aging homeless is a critical concern as emergency shelters and transitional housing programs are not equipped nor qualified to meet their medical needs.(Source).
- 51% of children in Arizona are residing in low-income households; with other risks associated with child homelessness so prevalent in Arizona, such as low-wage jobs for parents, single parenting, and economic disparity, the National Center on Family Homelessness ranks Arizona the worst for risk of child homelessness (Source).
- Arizona is ranked #17 for states with the largest homeless population Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rates among U.S. states with 19 percent of the state's population living below the poverty line. Roughly one in five Arizonans, or 1.26
It is critical to be informed about laws passed by our local and state government. While much time is spent creating policies which prevent people experiencing homelessness from performing life-sustaining activities such as sleeping in public spaces, the solution to homelessness is housing. It is our responsibility to bring light the the issues of the criminalization of homelessness and policies which help and inhibit the development and growth of affordable housing opportunities.
Similarly, we must champion policies which get at the root causes of homelessness, such as access to mental and behavioral health services, supportive policy for addressing substance abuse, policies which aid and support the impoverished and working classes, and the list goes on.
For specific AZCEH-related info, sign up for the AZCEH newsletter.You can also glean a great deal of information about local Arizona politics by subscribing to the PAFCO newsletter, too. And while you're at it, find out if your elected officials have newsletters or send out updates -- check below, 'Get To Know Your Elected Officials,' to learn more about getting in touch with your elected leaders.GET TO KNOW YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALSAfter November 8th, you may have new elected leaders! Even if you don't, get to know them -- new and incumbent alike.Get to know their most championed issues, as well as those they may have fought against with all their might. Be aware of their voting records and public stance on issues. But most importantly, get to know them as people. Introduce yourself and let them know you're a constituent who works in social services and can act as a resource in the future. Be sure to share the issues of most importance to you and your family, listen, and capitalize on shared issues, values, and visions. Let them know when you're pleased or displeased with a vote.Say 'thank you' just as boldly and just as often as you say 'I disagree, and this is why...'
- CITY: Visit your city's official website to find & contact your city council members
- COUNTY: Visit your county's official website to find & contact your county supervisors
- STATE: Find & contact your state legislators
- FEDERAL: Find & contact your representative in the U.S. House
Contact Senator Flake
Contact Senator McCain
Read this article to learn about effective constituent lobbying at the federal level.
REGISTER TO VOTE
Yes, after this very long election season, that pained us to write just as much as it pained you to read.
First of all, Arizona has reason to celebrate. Our number of registered voters this year is higher than ever at nearly 3.6 million -- up over half a million since 2008 (Source). But the reality is that still over half of eligible voters across the U.S. did not vote in the 2016 election (Source). If you're not yet registered to vote, WHY NOT? As reticent as we may be after a very tumultuous, exhaustive election season, the work of a democracy never ends. The most powerful voice you possess is your vote. For lasting societal change that will bring an end to homelessness, and its root causes, we must vote for and support policies, ballot measures, and candidates which address the causes of hunger and homelessness. EVERY VOTE MATTERS. TRULY.In 2016, we saw a HUGE win for the working class in Arizona thanks to voters with the passage of Proposition 206: Increase Minimum Wage. Where legislators and lawmakers have failed to make progress, Arizona voters have changed the lives of millions across our state.
There are many ways to get involved in helping your local community in the fight the end hunger and homelessness.
It goes without saying that the best thing you can give is your time. Get to know those experiencing homelessness and the obstacles they face in obtaining housing stability by volunteering at any of our Member Agencies -- check out their websites and find out what opportunities are available.You can also volunteer with the Arizona Veteran StandDown Alliance, which assists in the coordination of annual StandDown events in 12 of Arizona's 15 counties, including the nation's largest, the Maricopa County StandDown, which serves on average over 2,000 at-risk and homeless military veterans, utilizing nearly 1,000 volunteers over the course of a two-day event. Learn more and register for upcoming volunteer opportunities at arizonastanddown.org/volunteer.ATTEND PUBLIC MEETINGSCheck out your city council and county supervisor meetings to learn more about issues of local importance, and to get a sense of the local tone and tenor towards the criminalization of homelessness, as well as the root causes of homelessness -- low-income, access to mental and behavioral health services, substance use programs, etc.If you're really committed to being a part of the work that's ending homelessness in your local community, consider attending a local Continuum of Care meeting -- Arizona has three continua: Maricopa, Tucson/Pima, and Balance-of-State.
As the legislative session approaches, be sure to also watch the Arizona State Legislature calendar to find out when committees and hearings of interest are happening and be sure to be in attendance, with questions in hand.JOIN A COMMITTEE OR BOARDAfter you've spent time volunteering, maybe there's an organization that felt like a perfect fit -- why not consider joining a committee or the Board of Directors? Influencing change happens in many different ways. If you have a passion for the organizational mission and vision, don't be afraid to take it to the next level.
You might also consider getting involved with AZCEH and strengthening our statewide impact in ending homelessness. Support our Conference & Education Committee as we host statewide trainings that meet the needs of stakeholders' work in ending homelessness. Help shape our policy agenda by participating in our Legislative Committee.
It’s imperative that we come together as a unified, statewide voice, advocating and demonstrating the importance of funding, while also illustrating the collaboration necessary to end homelessness for our friends without homes in our great state.
For more information about joining an AZCEH committee, please SIGN UP HERE.And be sure to check out these articles about joining nonprofit boards:
If you are passionate about ending homelessness, share that passion with your family and friends. Be sure to pass along articles of interest, or make them aware of upcoming volunteer or engagement opportunities as they arise. If you have a favorite local nonprofit working to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, share their social media pages with your social networks, encourage friends and family to look into, volunteer, or donate, and don't be shy about letting that nonprofit know how you feel about their work. The power of human connection is what truly brings about lasting change.
Every time we spend money, we are 'voting' for the world we want to live in. Invest in a future devoid of homelessness by donating to end homelessness. Your donation to AZCEH goes towards general programming and administrative costs for our advocacy efforts, training programs, and special initiatives. You can also direct your donation to the events and programs you wish to support.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO AZCEH, AVSA, OR STANDDOWN
If you'd like to donate to direct-service providers working in direct contact with those experiencing homelessness, we hope you'll consider a donation to any one of our amazing Member Agencies.