Join Housing Advocacy Delegation at Statehouse in Richmond
FAIRFAX, VA (February 8, 2017) - Eleven residents and consumers of Pathway Homes traveled to Richmond on February 2nd to advocate for state support of housing and mental health care. This was the first time that users of Pathway’s housing and supportive services ventured to the state capitol to speak with legislators face-to-face, on their own behalf.
After a morning orientation session, our advocates headed to the historic Capitol building for a group photo, then to scheduled meetings in the General Assembly building. Throughout the afternoon, the team met with Del. Tim Hugo, Del. Ken Plum, and legislative aides to Sen. Chap Peterson, Sen. Janet Howell, and Del. David Bulova. In each meeting, a few of the council members shared stories of their personal experiences with homelessness, and overcoming mental illnesses. These personal stories serve to illustrate the serious need for legislative support for programs to end homelessness and provide comprehensive mental health care.
“It was an excellent education for me,” said council member Alan Miner. “In addition to meeting the delegates and their staffs, we really learned a lot about how the process of making laws happens. I didn’t realize how much work goes into our state government.”
The contingent are members of Pathway Homes’ Consumer Advisory Council, a group of residents and consumers of services that provides a formal channel for consumer views and participation in program design and provision of services. “Consumer empowerment is one of our core values,” says Pathways Chief Operation
Officer, Dr. Eleanor Vincent, who accompanied the council members. “The most important voice to be heard belongs to the individuals we are privileged to serve. We were thrilled to have this opportunity to have lawmakers hear the voice of the consumer, the men and women most affected by the legislation they’re considering and the decisions they’ll ultimately make.”
This first-of-its-kind advocacy initiative for Pathways was made possible in part thanks to a generous grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Diocese of Arlington, Va.
For more than 30 years, Pathway Homes has been a leading provider of housing and support services for adults with mental illness and co-occurring disorders in the Northern Virginia region, embodying the spirit of recovery. More about Pathway Homes at www.pathwayhomes.org.