Speak out for our neighbors experiencing homelessness
Making a change in our community takes more than comments, likes and shares on social media. You can move from “slacktivism” to activism with these tips.
How can you help end homelessness?
Write to your local, state or federal representative
Handwritten letters to your representatives are more likely to get read. Tweeting or posting on Facebook rarely get attention unless they are negative and usually your comments are removed.
Keep it brief. One page or less is ideal. Share your full name and address up front. If you aren’t willing to share your identity, you won’t be taken seriously.
Don’t attack. Be honest, but attacks on politicians won’t get you anywhere.
Get personal. Share how this issue affects you personally and why you believe change should be made.
When closing the letter, be specific about the action you would like taken.
Call on the phone to follow up
Call the state office, not DC. If you are courteous, staffers will listen and take notes. Be clear and concise, but state your position and specifically ask for support. Get your friends to do the same. If there is a common theme in calls and letters, staffers are more likely to bring it to the attention of their lawmaker.
Partner with a group or organization that aligns with your passion
Some representatives from Mel Trotter Ministries travel to Washington, DC to talk to lawmakers and other government entities about issues facing the homeless population in West Michigan, but the work continues on the local level. Reach out to organizations and ask how you can be an ambassador in your community by joining a committee or board of directors.
Don’t give up!
Anything worth doing is not easy. It takes time to make change. The best thing you can do is start by getting involved in your local community and educating yourself about the issues that affect you and the people you care about. Social media is only a piece of the puzzle. Going viral may get you heard but is not likely to help eradicate poverty and hunger. So… step out from behind that hashtag and get moving!