257747 Communities Working in Partnership: “Building Capacity for Policy Change” among People Experiencing Homelessness

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Adam Schneider, MA, MSW , Health Care, Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore, MD
Janice Bowie, PhD, MPH , Department of Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Lee Bone, MPH , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Introduction: B-More Housing for All (BHFA) is a grassroots campaign of people without housing working to end homelessness by promoting policies to make housing affordable, incomes livable, and health care available for all; raising awareness of the experience and causes of homelessness; and fostering leadership and solidarity among people without housing in Baltimore. In July 2010, indigenous leaders of the campaign joined students and faculty from Johns Hopkins University and other local colleges in the Communities Working in Partnership Policy-Advocacy Train-the-Trainer Workshop (CWP) to increase the campaign's intentionality and efficacy.

Methods: Particular challenges face organizers of people without housing. In addition to their extreme vulnerability, people experiencing homelessness are extremely transient – both because of a lack of stable residence and the temporary nature of homelessness. To address these challenges, BHFA leadership adapted the CWP materials to be used during weekly organizing meetings in strategy discussions around particular issues confronting campaign members.

Results: BHFA has built and demonstrated its capacity for policy change and coalition-building in varied ways. Since the training, BHFA has increased substantially its members' presence at legislative and budgetary hearings, established a local “Faces of Homelessness” Speakers' Bureau, and collaborated with students at local colleges and universities on community-based experiential learning advocacy projects - including “lobby days”, demonstrations, and a street newspaper – connected with their curricula.

Discussion: This presentation will discuss the benefits and lessons learned from community-academic partners adapting and utilizing the CWP training for work with an especially marginalized and vulnerable population.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the importance and benefits of engaging marginalized populations in the struggle for social change. 2. Discuss the process of adapting general policy/advocacy training resources for specific challenges and issues. 3. Discuss the benefits of integrating direct service and advocacy.

Keywords: Homelessness, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm Coordinator of Community Relations at Health Care for the Homeless, which includes advocacy and community-related work. As part of this work, I collaborated on the CWP initiative in Baltimore City.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.