This is an important building block for PFFC, is closely linked with its other two building blocks: advocacy and peer mentoring.
PFFC’s outreach strategy has three objectives: (1) inform individuals who lack stable housing of efforts that are being made on their behalf to obtaining sustainable and affordable housing; (2) build awareness in the broader DC population of the tremendous need in DC for affordable and sustainable housing; and (3) bring the need for sustainable and stable housing to the attention of the Mayor, the DC City Council, and others responsible for setting priorities around affordable housing in Washington DC.
During hypothermia season, between October and March of each year, PFFC members reach out to provide individuals lacking housing with information regarding how they can gain access to shelters. PFFC also sees as an important part of its mission providing information about policies that may be of interest to individuals who lack stable housing as well as organizing the homeless community to have a stronger voice in policies and laws that will lead to increased availability of affordable housing.
Outreach is an integral part of all of PFFC’s Initiatives.
When PFFC began in 2008, its three founding members lacked housing. Over the years, each of these individuals, supporting one another and with outside assistance, have found employment and housing. As PFFC membership grew, new members without housing were able to find housing as well as employment. Critical in this process has been the role of PFFC peers who have already found employment and housing in mentoring new members.
Peer mentoring remains a critical part of PFFC’s mission. In the words of Robert Warren, PFFC’s Director:
“In PFFC, most of our members were homeless at one time; through group participation and mentoring the majority are no longer homeless. As peer members we want to be able to help other members of the PFFC through the processes that we have been through ourselves. We want to encourage individuals experiencing housing instability to be their own best advocates. We have members who are in a survival mode. At a minimum we need to be a listening board for these individuals; trying to help them through some of their stressful days and nights.”
A key principle of peer mentoring is encouraging individuals to get involved in their own recovery. In addition to mentoring members PFFC, PFFC carries it commitment to mentoring members in the community outside of PFFC who lack stable housing and jobs.
AcSince its inception eleven years ago, the People for Fairness Coalition has been a tireless advocate for Washington, DC’s underserved population. PFFC’s primary focus has been and continues to be ensuring that all DC residents have access to affordable, sustainable housing. Given that PFFC is composed primarily of individuals who currently or formerly lacked stable housing, PFFC’s focus has primarily been on this population.
Advocacy enters into everything that PFFC does, be it: advocating for the rights of individuals who have been discriminated against because they lack stable housing; advocating for affordable and sustained housing, including the resources that the DC government needs to invest in order to ensure that this takes place. PFfC has also been a tireless advocate for the improvement of the unacceptable conditions of DC’s shelters for the homeless. Most recently In late 2014 PFFC launched an initiative to advocate for clean, safe, public restrooms that are available for 24/7 for everyone including our sisters and brothers who live on the streets. Since December of 2015 PFFC has watched in horror, and raised it’s voice in disapproval, as the Deputy Mayor’s Office has carried out a number of sweeps designed to eliminate encampments in different areas of DC. For several years PFFC has been advocating for a day center in Downtown DC where individuals experiencing homelessness can seek shelter during the day, meals, showers, laundry, and access to resources, such as: housing opportunities, health services, legal assistance. We are pleased to announce that in early 2019, the Downtown DC BID, in collaboration with the New York Presbyterian Church and with financing from the DC government opened a day shelter in the basement of the church.