Advocacy Agenda

We are committed to advocating with and on behalf of people experiencing homelessness. 


    Advocacy at Health Care for the Homeless is

    • Rooted in direct service experience
    • Shaped by the perspectives and involvement of staff, clients, Board members and community partners
    • Targeted on local, state and national levels

    During 2016-17, Health Care for the Homeless is committing its time, energy and resources to advancing the following advocacy agenda:  

    Comprehensive Health Care

    Health Care for the Homeless will promote policies and practices to meet the comprehensive and integrated treatment needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness within the context of health reform implementation and grassroots campaigns supporting publicly financed universal health care. 

    • Health Care Reform. Health Care for the Homeless will work to ensure the full and effective expansion of Medicaid coverage to low-income people, as well as the broadest range of comprehensive and integrated health and supportive services possible. Health Care for the Homeless will also monitor policy changes in Maryland’s regulated hospital system to identify opportunities to serve more effectively the needs of marginalized populations.
    • Universal Health Care. Health Care for the Homeless will support policies and campaigns that further proposals for administratively efficient and publicly funded systems of universal health care.
    • Safety Net Health Services. Health Care for the Homeless will work for adequate funding and support of safety net health services and programs, in particular the Health Care for the Homeless program.

    Affordable Housing

    Health Care for the Homeless will advance and support policies, programs and practices that increase the availability and accessibility of housing affordable to households with extremely low incomes, meet the needs of those facing eviction or foreclosure and rapidly re-house individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

    • Housing First. Health Care for the Homeless will promote the adoption and expansion of permanent supportive housing and supportive services that utilize a housing first philosophy, as well as policies that reduce barriers to housing for people experiencing homelessness.
    • Comprehensive Housing Plan. Health Care for the Homeless will advocate for the creation and implementation of comprehensive affordable housing plans in Baltimore City and across the state that meet the needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
    • Equitable Investment in Housing. Health Care for the Homeless will support efforts that promote equitable public investments in housing to ensure that public subsidies meet human needs. This includes advocacy for budget allocations (including local, state and national housing funds) and policies (including inclusionary zoning and community land trusts) necessary to expand the stock of permanently affordable and publicly controlled housing.

    Adequate Incomes and Worker Supports

    Health Care for the Homeless will advocate for policies and programs that promote livable incomes and ensure broader supports for low-wage workers and people who face disability oppression, as well as progressive tax structures.

    • Wages and Protections. Health Care for the Homeless will support policies and campaigns that seek to raise and index worker wages to the cost of housing, as well as guaranteed pay equity, access to paid parental, sick and safe leave and economic security in the event of unemployment or other loss of livelihood.
    • Disability and Public Benefits. Health Care for the Homeless will promote access to state and federal public benefit and disability assistance programs by people who are in need, as well as the adequacy of such programs, which includes opposing efforts to weaken public benefit programs.
    • Full Employment. Health Care for the Homeless will support investments in educational and vocational programs and supports that increase job skills and opportunities for low-wage workers and those seeking employment. Health Care for the Homeless will advocate for policies and practices that reduce barriers to employment and education for marginalized groups—including barriers resulting from criminal records.

     

    Barbara DiPietro, Senior Director, Policy

    We advocate for individual clients, but we also advocate for policy change because it’s the only way to end homelessness for ALL our clients.

    Emergency and Supportive Services

    Health Care for the Homeless will work to ensure adequate, effective, responsive and respectful emergency and supportive services with particular focus on the needs of especially marginalized and underserved populations—including those who face barriers based on gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, household composition, ability, health conditions and criminal record.

    • Person-Centered Care. Health Care for the Homeless will promote community-wide adoption of harm reduction principles, trauma-informed practices and other strategies that effectively reach and make available support to people with diverse needs.
    • Barrier Reduction. Health Care for the Homeless will work to reduce barriers to services. This work ranges from technical or administrative barriers (e.g., applications and eligibility criteria) to systemic barriers (e.g., the navigation of public bureaucracies and inadequate transportation systems) to public policy barriers that restrict access to necessary benefits or services (e.g., regulations that prevent successful reentry and reintegration) to physical barriers (e.g., to buildings).
    • Adequate Investment. Health Care for the Homeless will defend state and local funding for emergency and transitional shelter and supportive services as short-term goals while prioritizing long-term and permanent housing solutions.

    Civil Rights & Criminal Justice

    Health Care for the Homeless will work to ensure that the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness are respected. Health Care for the Homeless will promote policies and practices that break the link between incarceration and poverty—supporting responses to community and social problems beyond law enforcement intervention.

    • Criminalization of Homelessness. Health Care for the Homeless will oppose policies that criminalize so-called “nuisance crimes” created by the experience of homelessness and practices (of agencies or individuals) that use intimidation or force to remove people without homes from public spaces. 
    • Community Reentry. Health Care for the Homeless will work to reduce barriers to successful community reentry and broaden the array of services, planning and resources for persons leaving public institutions and medical facilities.
    • Constitutional Protections. Health Care for the Homeless will promote the exercise of constitutional rights (e.g., to vote, assemble, speak) of marginalized groups—in particular, people who lack stable housing.    

    Collaboration

    Health Care for the Homeless will work collaboratively with local, state and national partners who work to address issues of poverty and homelessness. 

    • Plans to End Homelessness. Health Care for the Homeless will support efforts to maintain goals and commitments in The Journey Home:  Baltimore’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, as well as to implement the strategies contained in the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.  
    • Councils, Committees and Coalitions. Health Care for the Homeless will advance this policy agenda and the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the context of administrative, legislative and community efforts at the local, state and national levels.

    Health Care for the Homeless will continue to educate individuals and organizations about the causes of and solutions to homelessness. Health Care for the Homeless will work locally and nationally to increase the capacity for advocacy in direct service organizations and will educate homeless service providers on the advocacy priorities of Health Care for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.