On June 4th, 2012, the Gates Foundation invited all their family homelessness advocacy grantees into one room. This convening allowed each of us to learn about each other’s efforts and to discuss opportunities for even greater collaboration. The discussion that took place is likely the first of many! Firesteel, as a Gates grantee, was at the table, including the YWCA Wenatchee Valley as a Firesteel partner. Sharlene England is our Firesteel contact at the YWCA Wenatchee Valley and here she shares her meeting take-aways. And thanks to Sharlene for making the trek to Seattle to attend!
Written by Sharlene England, Marketing Manager at the YWCA Wenatchee Valley.
On Monday, June 4th, a wonderful conglomeration of people from different communities around Washington state came together to discuss how to collaborate and end family homelessness in Washington. We all know it is quite the task but also believe it is attainable!
I was given the wonderful opportunity to participate in a meeting, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earlier this month, on the topic of family homelessness. We had an open discussion with individuals from many different groups, each sharing how our organization engages in advocacy. The range was incredible. From project management to providing education to lobbying. I was so amazed at all the different groups and blown away by what each one has to offer. I had no idea all of these organizations existed, let alone the great work that they do. Plus, the passion everyone had for their work was inspiring!
As we shared, it became clear that we need a way to bring all of our work together for the general public. I work in the field and serve homeless families and individuals in my community, and yet I was unaware of all the efforts already happening. If I was not even aware, can I expect the general public to know much more? But what if we could bring all of our efforts together in one location, making it so others could find the information, creating a gateway for those wanting to help and learn? We each have our own passions and talents and can all collaborate towards ending family homelessness. I believe Firesteel is this path, where we can convene everyone together and connect people to opportunities for action and advocacy.
Each one of us at the table are dedicated to ending family homelessness in WA state. Yet we all need greater coordination to improve our effectiveness as a community. I believe Firesteel can fill this need and look forward to growing!