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Being able to engage policymakers online has been a small silver lining during the pandemic, whether it’s logging into a public comment session at the City Council or using Zoom to speak with your member of Congress. Online advocacy has created greater accessibility to the process. It’s leveled the playing field to some degree; after all, Zoom serves as an equalizer to make your case if everyone is virtual, no matter if you’re a high-powered lobbyist or a citizen advocate.
And it’s worked it our favor. In September, we hosted 1,166 homeless experts to participate in 261 virtual legislative meetings. This year’s event was even bigger than last year’s event, (which included 914 advocates in 231 virtual meetings) – and the increasing reliance on virtual tools helped make it happen.
Integrating New Technologies to Improve the Field
The Alliance has also invested in online tools to help our field partners advocate more effectively. One of the Alliance’s online training resources, “How to Advocate to Your Lawmaker,” is specifically designed for virtual legislative meetings. It’s a self-paced course that tells you how to get the most out of a Zoom meeting with your Senator, Representative, and legislative staff.
Moving the Field Forward
A trip to the nation’s capital isn’t required anymore to have meaningful input in the legislative process – and all you need is a computer or phone. These online tools and the Alliance’s virtual Capitol Hill Day are adaptations to a changing world. They are resources that no doubt would have been useful before the pandemic, but they are now more essential than ever.
Read the full article about scaling up online tools by Jerry Jones at National Alliance to End Homelessness.