Almost every day there are reports of new ways our elected officials are making the lives of poor women harder as they struggle to find affordable housing, living wage work, childcare, education, and healthcare. Many of us at Lydia’s House have been frequent callers to the state and D.C. offices of our senators and representatives in the last weeks. With the daily calls we are getting increasingly familiar with the answering staffers: “Hey! It’s me again! Just calling back to urge you not to gut healthcare for millions of vulnerable women and children. Also, it’s really important to me that our senator doesn’t confirm a cabinet member who wants to privitize education, further decreasing the resources and opportunities of low-income children who rely on public schools. You know, like the 47% of children here in Hamilton County who live below the poverty line. Okay, talk again soon!”
It’s a daily lighthearted exchange with heavy implications, but we recognize the systemic causes of poverty, racism, sexism have been a long time in the making. As we work with guests on their journey to stability, we’ve become ever more convinced of the need to address social injustices in our country and community that perpetuate the cycles of these struggles. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we as women from diverse backgrounds engage in both direct action and advocacy on a policy level in our local, state, and national government for the rights and well-being of women and children in poverty. This year, Lydia’s House staff will be hosting Community Action Nights as a time for our extended community, including current and former guests of the house, to learn more about issues, share resources on how our actions can be most effective, and to take action together as a community. Volunteers will also be taking concerns from these action nights into the larger community, attending rallies, meetings and joining in coalition with local and national representatives to advocate for homeless families and an end to family homelessness.
At the center of our work is the belief in the God given dignity of all people, the basic human right to housing and the belief that women are stronger when they are given the tools to determine their own destiny. We hope this community work will lead to long-term change and empower our guests as they seek to change their lives well beyond their time at Lydia’s House.
Two issues that directly impact the lives of women and children served by Lydia’s House are healthcare and funding for affordable housing.
Calling your representative to voice your concern on these issues can be a great first step. It also helps to call knowing the specific piece of legislation you’re concerned about and your position on how you want your representative to vote. A great resource for following upcoming legislation in congress is www.countable.us. You can see summaries of bills that congress will be imminently voting on and search upcoming bills by issue categories. This site will also show who your elected officials are based on your address.
You too can have engaging conversations with your congress-person’s staffers! If you live in Ohio, here are your U.S. Senators’ office contacts:
US Senator Robert Portman (R)
312 Walnut St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Cincinnati Office Phone: 513-684-3265
D.C. Office phone: 202-224-3353
US Senator Sherrod Brown (D)
425 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Cincinnati Office Phone: 513-684-1021
D.C. Office Phone (202) 224-2315