Advocating for change


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  • The hippie, the lobbyist, the protester, the spiritual leader Transition to BARRIERS discussion Lots of different types of people are advocates—not just those you’d think of right away.
  • Translating individual actions into system-wide actions A day at the clinic is like a day in DC or in your state capital. Individual issues v. system issues. Same frustrations, same ups and downs and unexpected changes. Sometimes it’s pretty messy and dramatic. Sometimes you might even have doubts that improvement is possible (or desired). Goal with both: securing some kind of CHANGE for one or many of your patients/clients
  • We understand incremental progress, we are tenacious and patient, we understand complex issues  complex systems Client experience — Our clients have an acute understanding of their needs and the extent to which programs function or fail. They are the ultimate front line source of information and their voice should be heard. TDAP and personal story example. Professional experience — Clinicians, administrators, and organizers each bring to the table a rich understanding of issues/problems/solutions. Unique perspective and focus of analysis. Policy makers need to hear from us because we have a unique voice. I worked as a case manager, counselor. This informed how I feel about policy and my desire to advocate. Institutional credibility – We are respected members of the community. Our service provider background distinguishes us from other advocates.
  • Departure from “normal daily grind”; can see benefits to clients, staff and organization We might even help end homelessness…
  • Notes: ask what the audience would do in certain situations
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint! See success broadly. Build relationships. TURTLE AND THE HARE We don’t give up on our clients and we celebrate incremental successes—this is the same thing. Example: actions may not have immediate impact, but the impact may not be noticeable for some time. You WILL be remembered. No one else is talking about these issues from your perspective and certainly, few others are bringing clients’ real-life experiences to the discussion.
  • Advocating for change

    1. 1. +MCCH H.O.M.E.ConferenceADVOCATINGFOR CHANGESeptember 13, 2012 Barbara DiPietro, Ph.D. Policy Director National Health Care for the Homeless Council Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. of Maryland
    2. 2. + Integrating Service and Advocacy: Overview of Workshop 1. Demystify and define “advocacy” 2. Overcome barriers to advocacy 3. Provide strategies for integrating advocacy into your work 4. Describe different advocacy activities 5. Discuss advocacy needs locally and nationally
    3. 3. + Advocacy—What is It Anyway?  To advocate (verb): To speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly  Advocate (noun): A person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person or cause; to plead for or in behalf of another; to plead the cause of another in a court of law  Synonyms: Champion, proponent, backer, believer, sponsor  Antonyms: Opponent, discourage
    4. 4. + Describing Advocacy Introducing yourself and your work Raising awareness Facilitating consumers’ voice Educating policy makers and the public Prevention and universal solutions
    5. 5. + Who’s an Advocate?: Fighting Stereotypes
    6. 6. + Service Providers as Advocates Individual Advocacy Policy Advocacy  Locate detox placement for  Work with local coalition of client providers to increase addiction funding and bed spaces  Hunt for specialist who will  Meet with your elected officials treat your uninsured client about the need for more affordable housing and services  Secure housing voucher for  Speak in public meetings or in client state/city council hearings about issues related to poverty &  Help client apply for SSI or homelessness health insurance  Join/form a group of providers, faith ministers, and concerned  Accompany a client to a social citizens to expand affordable services appointment housing
    7. 7. + Service Providers = Natural Advocates  Direct, real-life experience  Important to the community  Credible  Non-partisan
    8. 8. + Benefits of Integrating Service & Advocacy • Improved system • Empowered staff (burn-out prevention) • Empowered consumers (clinically helpful) • Increased credibility/ visibility of issues • Increased funding opportunities • Reduced homelessness
    9. 9. + Overcoming Barriers  Legality  Advocacy vs. Lobbying  NO LIMITS on advocacy  Minor limits on lobbying for 501c3s:  Up to 20% can go to lobbying if claimed  ~5% if not claimed  May be different at government agencies like Health Departments
    10. 10. + Overcoming Barriers Publicly Funded  Vital partnership  Feedback is needed  Need not be adversarial  Helps ensure effective use of public resources
    11. 11. + Overcoming Barriers  Time  Phone calls and emails are not time intensive  Coalitions can help divide work  Can be incorporated into clinical and administrative duties  Upfront work saves time and effort down the line:  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
    12. 12. + Overcoming Barriers Remaining optimistic  Your input does matter  Self care is critical, as with clinical work  Your input is needed to balance scales  Set feasible goals and focus on quality of relationships  Manage expectations
    13. 13. + Integrating Service and Advocacy: Administrators  Include advocacy in job descriptions  Example: Actively participate in advocacy activities that support people experiencing homelessness and the mission of HCH  Create tangible advocacy opportunities and encourage participation  Recognize staff and consumers for their advocacy work  Include advocacy in staff and Board orientations and trainings  Encourage participation in external coalitions  Post flyers and make announcements of public hearings addressing issues of concern so consumers can participate
    14. 14. + Integrating Service and Advocacy: Board  Include advocacy in your Mission Statement  Develop an annual advocacy agenda  Make time to discuss advocacy at meetings  Use external contacts and professional experience to advocate for project and patients  Attend meetings with public officials and other stakeholders
    15. 15. + Integrating Service and Advocacy: Service Provider Staff  Correspond with public officials  Use real life stories, make it personal  Participate in internal advocacy committees  Participate in external coalitions  Discuss advocacy with consumers and support their involvement  Know its not just the CEO’s job
    16. 16. + Integrating Service and Advocacy: Consumers  Join Board of Directors or create other forums to ensure consumer input to issues of concern  Discuss advocacy and organizing at regular meetings  Voter registration and education  Ask for staff support for advocacy activities  Example: Weekly meetings of B’More Housing for All, Baltimore
    17. 17. + Integrate Service and Advocacy: Voter Registration  Involve intake staff, case management, consumers, community volunteers, partner organizations  Post information in service areas and incorporate into intake forms  Recognize the work that is done  Provide needed training and support
    18. 18. Voter Participation Rates
    19. 19. + Where to begin?  Recognize unique value of your program  Document how clients depend on your program  List items that need changing  Identify who can help with solutions
    20. 20. + What to do: Build Relationships  Contact officials  Congress: 1-877-210-5351  White House: 202-456-1111  Educate and be an information resource  Invite officials for a tour  Invite officials to events like Homeless Persons Memorial Day
    21. 21. + What to do: Advocacy Actions  Mobilize project and community  Call-in day  Petition  Letter writing  Board Resolution  Letter to the editor, op-ed, press conference, rally
    22. 22. + Guidelines: Meeting with Public Officials  Relax: Remember they work for you and you are the expert in your field  Plan: Have materials, stories, and data ready  Strategize: Know what you want to say and have responses prepared for likely concerns  Tell the truth: If you don’t know the answer, get back to them  Don’t Burn Bridges: Relationships last longer than issues  Manage your expectations: You won’t end homelessness in one meeting
    23. 23. Survey of Congressional Staff
    24. 24. + Note on Health Reform  Medicaid will be expanded to most low income people in 2014  Much of the implementation effort is at the state level  Outreach, enrollment& engagement in services is essential  Be a part of this discussion
    25. 25. + Sustaining Advocacy Activities  Don’t Give Up!   Success will be incremental —plan for long-term effectiveness  Continue relationships in the community  Use Motivational Interviewing skills
    26. 26. + Small steps achieve big goals  “Have a bias toward action—let’s see something happen now.  You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” – Indira Gandhi
    27. 27. + Quick Review: Pushing It Forward  Framing the Message & Crafting the “Ask”  Identify who can do what, and when  Tag your action to active initiatives and programs (“get on the bandwagon”)  Make the meetings  Pair providers with consumers  Blend credible data with personal stories  Root “ask” in problem and solution  Put it in writing, make it easy to operationalize  Address known concerns directly
    28. 28. + Quick Review: Being an Active Partner Host/attend related events  Help policymaker advance their priorities  Draw attention, galvanize more partners  Testify at hearings  Be aware of relationships that can help/hurt  Continue to include consumers!  Double back: continue the relationship 
    29. 29. + Keeping an Eye on the Ultimate Goals  Advocacy educates policymakers about client needs = better policy decisionmaking  Advocacy based on data, experience & personal stories = credibility and influence within policy community  Informed decisions + influence = an improved system with lower numbers of people in poverty  Improved system = better health, more housing, better outcomes, stronger communities