Reminder: Homelessness Awareness Day & Memorial Vigil – Jan. 15, State House, Montpelier

Your voice is needed at the State House! Advocates from across the state will gather on January 15th for Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil. Join us in Montpelier to tell your lawmakers how we can alleviate and end homelessness in Vermont. We need you to engage with your representatives and senators to let them know that this is an important issue to you and to let them know what they can do to support ending homelessness!

SCHEDULE7:30 am – 9:00 am

Coffee and muffins, meeting with legislators homelessness awareness day flyer – Cafeteria(best time to meet with lawmakers, schedule ahead)7:30 am – 2:30 pm

Card Room display: Pick up packets & name tags, meet & greet legislators – Card Room9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Committee testimony is still in the process of being scheduled, so times and locations are not yet set. We expect to provide testimony in the following committees, with the House committees meeting in a joint session:

  1. Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs

  2. House Appropriations

  3. House General, Housing & Military Affairs, and

  4. House Human Services12:00 pm – 12:45 pm

Memorial Vigil – State House Steps1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Reading of House Resolution recognizing January 15 as Homelessness Awareness Day at the State House – House Visitor’s Gallery

OVERVIEW OF THE DAY

The day will kick off early at 7:30am with coffee and muffins in the Cafeteria. This will be a great time to meet with your representatives and senators to discuss the good work you and your organization are doing. To make your time at the State House most effective, please reach out to lawmakers in your area ahead of time and ask them to meet with you.

We ask that people be present in the Card Room all morning and into the afternoon to educate lawmakers about the work being done around the state, about which strategies are working, and what needs to be done to help end homelessness in Vermont. The Card Room is on the 2nd floor, on the way into the cafeteria (“G” on the map).

From 9:00 am to 12:00 pm we expect to provide testimony in the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee, as well as the House Appropriations, House General Housing & Military Affairs, and House Human Services Committees (meeting jointly). There will be testimony from a number of advocates, service providers, and people with lived experience. Please plan to be there to support our witnesses and hear their testimony. Once finalized the full witness list will be shared.

At Noon community members, elected officials, and advocates will gather outside on the State House steps for the annual Memorial Vigil to remember our friends and neighbors who have died without homes, and to bring awareness of the struggles of those still searching for safe, affordable and secure housing.

At 1:00pm, please be seated in the House Visitor’s Gallery at the rear of the House Chamber to hear the reading of a House Resolution recognizing January 15 as Homelessness Awareness Day and acknowledging the plight of Vermonters experiencing homelessness and the work you do to address their needs.

MESSAGING

Please be on the lookout for a reminder notice with further details for the day and a talking points document next week.


HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DAY AT THE STATE HOUSE

Strong Turn-Out is Key It is essential that we create a strong presence in the State House. Bring folks from your organization: board members, clients, staff, and local supporters. A strong show of support will be particularly important for the Memorial Vigil at 12 noon outside, on the State House steps, and also at 1pm in the House Chamber when your work will be recognized by the entire body.

If you’re new to the State House, we’ll send out some general guidelines for do’s and dont’s at the state house with the next email reminder for the day.

Meetings with LawmakersQuality interactions with representatives and senators from your area are critical to the day’s success. One-on-one or small group meetings are the best way to get our message across. To guarantee the most effective use of your time, please make appointments in advance, if possible. If you haven’t done so already, please CALL or EMAIL as soon as possible. Breakfast and after the Vigil at lunch are the best times to schedule your meetings.

How to Contact Your Representatives & SenatorsSend them an email, or call the Sergeant-at-Arms desk at 1-800-322-5616 and leave a message. Let them know that you’ll be at the State House this Wednesday and would like to meet. Their contact information is in the legislative directory.  If you can’t get an appointment ahead of time, let them know when you’ll be at the State House. If you can’t find them when you arrive, you can send a note via a legislative page. Be sure to note where you will be in the State House.

Sign in and get a name tag when you arrive – They will be available in the Card Room (second floor, on the way into the cafeteria). Legislators appreciate name tags with your name, your organization and the town you vote in. We’ll also have lapel stickers for you to wear identifying you as a supporter of the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and its work. Here are floor maps of the State House, in case you are unfamiliar with the building.

Parking – Is always a challenge in Montpelier. You can try on-street parking wherever you can find it. Other options include the public parking area behind the Capitol Plaza Hotel, the Department of Labor parking lot on Green Mountain Drive (second left after you come off the interstate, just past the first traffic light). Also, the Capitol Shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 7:20 am – 5:15 pm. Do not park in areas designated for legislative parking – you will be towed!

Thank you for spreading the word and see you at the State House on Wednesday, January 15, 2020!

For more information, contact:

Erhard Mahnke Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition erhardm@vtaffordablehousing.org

or:

Ellen Hender Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition ehender@uppervalleyhaven.org

#AdvocacyandPolicy #Policy #Vermont

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