Advocacy at Friendship Place  

By Lynn Amano, Friendship Place Director of Advocacy 

Here at Friendship Place, advocacy is an important part of what we do to address and prevent homelessness in Metro DC. The second goal of the Friendship Place Strategic Plan says: Invest in advocacy to create positive changes in participants’ lives, including but not limited to efforts to influence policymaking, increase government funding for homelessness in metropolitan D.C. 

Over the past two budget seasons, our advocacy has progressed in meeting the strategic goals, thanks to help from our coalition partners and supporters. In just this past budget season, we had many successes.  Here’s what was included in the FY’23 budget and legislation this summer: 
 
760 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) vouchers (500 individuals and 260 families) (Our full ask to end chronic homelessness, for the first time ever!) 
395 Targeted Affordable Housing Vouchers* (TAH) (Increased from 0 in Mayor Bowser’s budget) 

Project Reconnect (700k) (additional $300K over Mayor’s budget for this homelessness diversion program) 

Public Housing Repairs $1M more than last year ($51.1M)  
Re-entry Housing Pilot ($1M) for returning citizens renewed in FY ’23. 
  
Funding and Legislation for the Human Rights Act ($1M)  
Funding for the Eviction Record Sealing and Fairness in Renting Amendment Act. 

In addition, Friendship Place successfully advocated for another year of funding for our successful Job First Pilot program. Job First is an employment program run by our Aim Hire division and has been finding jobs for those with employment obstacles in 90 days or less! 

We’d especially like to thank those of you who wrote in and contacted your Council Members about Rapid Rehousing program reform. The DC Council and DHS have heard you and are responding: 

  • Chairman Mendelson added the 395 TAH vouchers to help keep expiring families from falling of the RRH Cliff 
  • DHS decided NOT to evict any more families this summer 
  • Chairman Mendelson also introduced RRH reform legislation.  

After the rush of “budget season” and the summer primary elections, late summer brings us to a time to slow down, reflect and improve upon our advocacy intentions and efforts. Council Members are on break until September 15, and coalitions are using this opportunity to reflect on wins and plan for the system improvements and funding we’d like to see. Advocacy efforts will pick up again in earnest again this fall.  

We’d love to have you join our effort to end homelessness in DC. Our Friendship Action Network (FAN) will keep you up to date on our progress with opportunities to help us accomplish our goals. Please sign up HERE!

Thank you for supporting Friendship Place! 

Your Donation Helps End Homelessness!

Your support for Friendship Place has a lasting impact. In 2020, our programs ended or prevented homelessness for 2,664 people, including 606 children in families and 661 veterans. We empowered 200 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to get jobs through innovative, state-of-the-art job placement services. Friendship Place's programs collectively served a total of 3,432 people in 2020. Make a donation today in support of our work to end homelessness. Questions? Please feel free to call our fundraising office, 202.503.2970.

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