"Honestly, I have never been interested in legislation. I did not understand how it played a role in every aspect of our lives. The Hill Day experience led me to feel that I would like to pursue a role in legislation, even if it is just advocating for change. To experience sitting in the legislative offices and them hearing my views on matters felt amazing and of importance. I felt valued, like I was making a difference.”
- NN4Y Youth Advisor
On day two of the 2017 National Summit on Youth Homelessness in Washington, DC, most of the attendees braved the snow to go a few blocks from our hotel to advocate to U.S. Senators and Representatives in support of solutions to prevent and respond to youth and young adult homelessness.
The majority of summit attendees and members of the National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC) met with members of Congress or their staff throughout the day on Tuesday, or even on Wednesday.
NN4Y and NYAC members and Summit attendees meeting with their federal representatives at #NN4Y17 Hill Day.
Summit attendees reported back on a number of successful meetings - both with long-standing champions for legislation supported by NN4Y, as well as with elected officials less familiar with our issues.
All of the elected officials and staff our attendees met with were interested in learning more about the impact of YYA homelessness in their local communities, and many are planning to visit RHY providers when they return home over the summer!
The NN4Y policy team is in the process of following up with congressional offices that attendees met with to ensure continued support for YYA homelessness programs and to continue to strengthen the relationships between federal representatives and NN4Y members.
“For young leaders who have never met with elected officials I would encourage them to 'know their stuff!' Know the statistics of homeless youth or whatever matter you are discussing, have paperwork and contact information to give them, follow up on the matter whether it be through a letter or email, and stay engaged!”
- NN4Y Youth Advisor
On Wednesday, the NYAC held a Congressional briefing entitled, Youth Homelessness in America: Formerly Homeless Youth Explain What It Is, Why It Happens & How to Fix It.
During the briefing, NYAC members shared their diverse experiences with homelessness, and how a broad range of supports and services helped them to move past homelessness in to stability, academic achievement, and careers.
Among the policy solutions they identified for the organizations, congressional staff and other attendees were full funding for programs addressing YYA homelessness, passage of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, passage of the Homeless Children and Youth Act and education and career supports.
Take Action At Home
Whether you attended #NN4Y17 or not, you can still take action in support of policies that address youth and young adult homelessness.
Meet with and/or send letters on letterhead to your U.S. Senators and U.S. House Representative in support of RHYA and EHCY funding. We've created sample letters. Download the template letter here and edit it to include local or state information where possible. Send one version to your U.S. Representative and one version to both of your U.S. Senators. Also, invite your Representative and Senators to visit your programs over the next two weeks while Congress is back in their home states and districts for Easter recess.
Your partnership with NN4Y as a members drives our policy work and enables our advocacy to be successful. Ensure you are a NN4Y member today by emailing email@example.com.