There are plenty of ways to support and get involved with the work of Operation Welcome Home. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are a few of our current projects.
1) Following up on the People’s Economic Stimulus Plan and building the ‘Homeless Advisory Council’
We will be contacting all of the elected officials who did not come to the rally to set up individual meetings with people where core members will be able speak to their stories of criminalization, displacement, and barriers to attaining housing and employment. This will be an opportunity for us to present the People’s Economic Stimulus Plan to them personally, and begin to build a relationship with them and demand that they support the solutions we propose in the plan. This is also a great way to continue building the core community’s leadership and the momentum we have created with Madison Freedom Summer.
The Homeless Advisory Council (outlined in the People’s Economic Stimulus Plan) is modeled after Picture the Homeless in NYC (http://picturethehomeless.org/), where homeless people, as the experts on homelessness, get a voice in shaping solutions to issues that affect their lives. This is something we will be building through our relationships with elected officials, service providers (especially shelters), and our core community’s increasing leadership capacity.
2) Documentary on Criminalization, Displacement, and Root Causes
The documentary, featuring extensive interviews with homeless activists, will be finished this fall. We hope that this will be a powerful tool to amplify the voices of the homeless/formerly homeless, unemployed, low-income, incarcerated/formerly incarcerated community in Madison. Help us to spread their vision and analysis far and wide by sending the link to the trailers to all of your contacts (they are both on our website- http://www.operationwelcomehome.info). Once the documentary is finished, we hope to hold many community showings throughout the city. Allies can organize showings with their friends, family, comrades or co-workers.
3) Organizing for the Community Center/Day Labor Program
We are continuing to look for a space and funding for the Community-based Cultural Center that we seek to build. This center would house a Day Labor Program and a holistic array of social services including mental health, AODA counseling, job training, literacy, and more. Please let us know if you have any leads on a space or funding sources. Also, if you are connected with any community organization, social service agency, or employers that could write a letter of support for this program/center, please contact me and I can send you a sample letter. These letters are extremely important in showing broad community support for this idea.
4) Women’s Residential Leadership Program/Housing First Initiative
We are building to open up another house, for women! There are a few women core members who have been organizing to get this started– they have written a letter soliciting donations and have begun to work with local faith communities to find financial support for the house. We hope to open this house as soon as possible. If you have any ideas on finding funds for this house, please let us know. Also, we need allies who are willing to support these women leaders (meeting with them one-one-one; facilitating support groups; supporting them in finding jobs, education, services; giving rides, etc.).
5) Ongoing Support
Allies can continue to support the work of OWH by volunteering to cook and go grocery shopping with a core member on any Thursday. Also, attending our Friday meetings at 10:30am at Peace Park, one-time or monthly donations of any amount (even $5 or $10 monthly donations), and spreading the word about our work.