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1.1 Alouise Urness


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  • 1. Creating a Federal Advocacy Program
    The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s path to sustained federal advocacy
    Alouise Urness, Federal Policy Coordinator
  • 2. Less than two years ago, the Housing Alliance had one overworked Director of Policy and Advocacy trying to stay on top of both state and federal housing and homelessness issues…
  • 3. A question was raised: is there a bigger role for the Housing Alliance to fill in federal advocacy?
    To answer the question, the Housing Alliance has taken a series of steps…
  • 4. Find a niche, then dedicate resources
    • Find out what’s already being done
    • 5. Make the case for your group’s work
    • 6. Secure funding
    • 7. Hire staff and/or include in staff work plans
  • Use your group’s connections
    Find out who in your organization (board, members, staff) has experience with federal issues and/or advocacy
    Engage them in planning for the work
    Enlist them to help build organizational relationships
  • 8. Work in two directions:
    Engaging the membership
    Developing relationships with the congressional delegation
    In both cases…
  • 9. Give, then ask
    What can you offer your members?
    Educational seminars likethe Housing Alliance’s “Learn at Lunch”
    Include federal updates in already popular email blasts. For example, the Housing Alliance’s: “The Week in Housing Advocacy” during state session.
  • 10. Give, then ask, part II
    What can you offer your federal elected officials?
    Info on the need in their district
    Info on how programs and resources are used locally
    Updates on state law
    Recognition for supportive actions/votes
    Access to stakeholders
  • 11. Ask, then ask others to ask
    A Housing Allianceexample: the National Housing Trust Fund
    The same ask - different mediums, different constituents
  • 12. Bringing others along
    Continue the dialog with members, partner organizations, funders
    Housing Alliance has:
    Developed a follow-up survey
    Involved members in planning events with federal legislators
    Invited funders to participate in educational calls, receive action alerts
  • 13. Next steps
    Newsletter for our members of Congress
    Special events
    Sen. Maria Cantwell
    Rep. Jay Inslee
    Branding for federal updates and alerts
    Continuing and improving “Learn at Lunch”
  • 14. To learn more about our federal advocacy work
    Visit our website:
    - view archived federal updates and action alerts
    - sign up for Housing Alliance alerts
    Or, contact me:
    (206) 442-9455 x 203