2013 Preview & the First Day of Session

Written by Erin Murphy, Director of Community Engagement, YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish.

The 2013 Washington State legislative session begins today. Which means we are mobilizing to advocate! The quote above reminds us that we can all be advocates. It’s time to introduce you to our 2013 Firesteel policy priorities and then we’ll take you through some new ways we plan to speak up.

2013 Firesteel Policy Priorities

Firesteel advocates for policies and funding that make it possible for all women in Washington to live in safe, healthy and affordable housing therefore more effectively empowering women and creating a community where all people live with dignity. Endorsements are collaboratively decided upon by partnering Washington YWCAs. Visit our Policy Priorities page to view all our policy areas. We are:

1) Supporting further investment in the Housing Trust Fund in order to support affordable housing across WA state

2) Asking to pass the Fair Tenant Screening Act, which can impact survivors of domestic violence and help prevent homelessness

3) And advocating to protect the Housing & Essential Needs Program from further cuts so that we continue to provide for those in our community with disabilities and help provide for those on the edge of homelessness.

Every bill page invites you to vote on the policy–so please do so! You’ll need to be signed in as a registered Firesteel member, and voting is just one good reason to register.

2013 Advocacy Preview

Before I get into what’s coming up, let’s take a quick look back at what we accomplished:

  • In 2012, Firesteel launched–we’re almost one year old!
  • We published over 80 blog posts with the help of 50 guest writers. Wow. And thank you.
  • We hosted a virtual governor’s forum using Google + Hangout. Receiving over 600 views made me pretty happy!
  • We carried out our first social media campaign exploring the connection between domestic violence and homelessness–complete with a trivia quiz and graphics.

There’s more and thank you to our advocacy community. But let’s now turn our attention to 2013!

What’s New? 

In 2013 you can expect:

  • More Google Hangouts. Think of it as a video podcast. We want to introduce you to the people in the housing and homelessness community and learn about the issues from their point of view. Connecting with real people and hearing their stories.
  • Infographics. We are creating an infographic as I type! Visuals can go a long way in making information more accessible, so we are working to bring you one of our policy priorities in visual form.
  • Video Comments. We’re taking commenting to the next level. You’ll soon be able to record a short video (up to 1 minute long) and share it on our website–which is especially powerful when connected to our policy areas! I’ll leave it at that for now and maintain some intrigue.
  • New Blog Series. The Firesteel blog has been one of our most active and community oriented aspects of our website. We want to keep it going strong! You can expect new blog series including one called, “I’m an Advocate.” Know any amazing advocates in the housing and homelessness community? Please share! We’d love to highlight lots of inspiring people from all backgrounds.
  • More Social Media Training. Social media plays an important role in advocacy but like any form of communication, there is sometimes new language to learn! Firesteel will be offering more digital trainings including one in partnership with WLIHA on February 6th to prepare for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day. Learn more HERE.

There is a lot of hard work to be done but we are excited! With more participation from you all, the more exciting it becomes. Here’s to 2013!

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