AHCH Advocacy Agenda
Purpose: The AHCH Advocacy Agenda created in 2007 and implemented into 2012 reflects the organizational vision, mission, values and principles, and strategic plan. Prior strategic plans included this priority goal related to advocacy, which was the impetus for this agenda: “AHCH will have effective and energetic organizational capacity to influence social and policy change.” The current 2010-2013 strategic plan approved by the Board in January 2010 reiterates and solidifies a strategic platform that keeps advocacy vital to fulfilling our mission.
Implementation Structure: The Advocacy Agenda will be implemented through a practice model that supports participation of AHCH board, staff, consumers, volunteers, and other community supporters, based on prioritized areas for reflection and action. The structure and processes for implementation are outlined in the AHCH Board Advocacy Committee documents. As a services organization that advocates for social change, AHCH uses its prioritized areas for action to guide how organizational resources are mobilized and directed in support of our allies’ relevant advocacy initiatives.
Format: The Agenda is organized around five areas core to the AHCH mission. Within each area, objectives are prioritized and balanced evenly between those that focus on sustaining resources for accessible, quality services for people without homes and those that create systems and social change to end homelessness. Specific legislation and campaigns at the local, state, and national level will reflect these priorities and change during the course of the year as identified.
Area #1: Access to health care.
Improve and expand access to health care, regardless of ability to pay or housing status.
- Universal health access for everyone.
- Expansion of Medicaid eligibility and maintenance of range of covered services/benefits, including for behavioral health services.
- Systems integration with UNM and other local indigent care providers and entities such as OptumHealth, to reduce barriers to access and eliminate inappropriate institutional discharge (health facilities and incarceration) to the streets.
- Continuation of and increases in existing federal, state, local funding to support a full continuum of health care and other health-related services for people without homes and others who are indigent.
- Creation of a community-wide recuperative care system.
- Preparation for Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation of expanded Medicaid coverage in early 2014.
Area #2: Affordable housing.
Increase quantity and availability of affordable housing, including for very low-income people in our community.
- Funding and policies that facilitate and support development of affordable housing.
- Complementary systems development to ensure supportive services availability for residents of affordable housing.
- Eviction/homelessness prevention.
Area #3: Living income.
Ensure incomes (wages or benefits) sufficient to allow people to address basic needs, remain healthy, and maintain housing.
- Living/fair wage increases.
- Indexing income and accessible income supports to inflation and increasing amounts to above poverty level.
Area #4: Equity.
Eliminate barriers to civic and community participation for people without homes.
- Fight criminalization of homelessness, poverty, and public spaces.
- Oppose measures to restrict further requirements for acquisition of official identification necessary to obtain services and resources.
- Increase consumer involvement in governance, advocacy, community awareness; support consumer choice and power in services.
- Support voter registration drives and mobilization to the polls, to ensure that people without homes are able to exercise the right to vote.
- Increase media presence to educate public on issues of homelessness and combat sterotypes.
- Support immigrants’ rights.
- Promote and defend civil rights, especially around healthcare and housing.
- Fight hate crimes based on housing status.
- Increase awareness and understanding about the forces that create and perpetuate homelessness and poverty.
Area #5: Other needed services and resources.
Ensure ongoing access and strength of an array of services needed in addition to health care, housing, and income, for people to exit homelessness and reintegrate in community. Advocate to prevent homelessness including prevention of recidivism after gaining housing.
- Increased funding for homeless programs.
- Adequate, year-round shelter for individuals, youth, families.
- Services for unaccompanied youth.
- Generation of healthy public spaces for all (e.g., public transportation, walkable streets)
- Child care subsidies and quality initiatives; as well as access to education for homeless children and youth.
- Domestic violence and anti-violence against women services funding.
- Quality of life through the arts, civic dialogue, and engagement.
- Support homelessness prevention services in the community.