My name is Rebeca Feldman and I am a freshman majoring in Political Science. I have been interested in policy reform, specifically in regards to housing, for the past few years. I first heard about the National Coalition for the Homeless while participating in a program at the University of Maryland over the summer of 2014. I participated in one of the biggest educational programs the coalition produces called the Speakers Bureau, where individuals who were previously homeless or are currently homeless speak about their experiences. I participated in this program again through my sociology class that I took my first semester of my freshman year (this past fall). Both of those interactions with the Coalition inspired me to take my involvement with them a step further and volunteer with them.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is a local non-profit organization focused on influencing policy across the nation. The organization has an array of different programs focused on education in regards to homelessness. In addition, the National Coalition for the Homeless aims to change policies and laws surrounding the homeless communities both in DC and across the Nation.
While at the National Coalition for the Homeless, I have been introduced to a broad array of the Coalition’s campaigns. I have involved with calls that are organizing a campaign that will be announced in a few weeks. These calls allow me to interact with an array of professionals in the field across the nation and have been a great learning experience for me. The Coalition has numerous campaigns, one of the extremely prevalent one is focused on the presidential election and getting candidates to speak on housing inequalities.
My main responsibility has been to put together a publication about attacks against the homeless. This publication usually goes out annually. The goal of this report is to draw attention to attacks on the homeless, which are commonly ignored by the media and the government. The end goal of this process is to change national and state legislation to protect the homeless from hate crimes. In years past, the reports have been featured by many news outlets, so I am excited to see the finished product and how it is received by the nation!
Tying my work at the National Coalition for the Homeless with my Politics in the US class has been a very interesting process. I get to study both how the policy is created and changed from the perspective of the government and from non-governmental groups. From my class, I am constantly being asked to question if our nation is truly democratic and following the ideas of the founding fathers and the people. I learn about how the government functions in relation to policy, and through the Coalition, I get to see the other side of creating policy from the perspective of a non-governmental organization.