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Engaging Local and Community Leaders July 13-15, 2011 Washington D.C.

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Presentation on theme: "Engaging Local and Community Leaders July 13-15, 2011 Washington D.C."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engaging Local and Community Leaders July 13-15, 2011 Washington D.C.

2 Dale Zuchlewski, Executive Director, Homeless Alliance of Western New York. We are the Continuum of Care for the City of Buffalo and Erie County. 32 years in Buffalo City Hall as a Legislative Assistant, Civil Servant and 8 years as full time elected member of the Buffalo Common Council. I know how elected officials think or don’t think.

3 My last 10 years – ESG, HOPWA, CHDO and HPRP. Retired and joined the Homeless Alliance in September of 2010. Became E.D. just before Christmas Lifelong Community Activist – Education issues, block clubs, Boards of various community groups, Coach, Arts and Athletics Foundation, etc. The ESG & HPRP program opened my eyes to the plight of the homeless. I ended up taking a leadership role mainly because I knew how to maneuver through the bureaucracy.

4 Why Are You Here Today? Advocates, Social Workers and Case Managers don’t understand why people don’t share their passion for helping the homeless. Apathy is caused by Ignorance NIMBY is caused by Fear and Ignorance. It’s our job to educate people. Education takes time.

5 Why Won’t the Media Cover My Story You are competing with homicides, house fires, wars, etc. for attention. The news is big business and they need to sell advertising. You need to engage the media to cover your story.

6 Lessons learned from Forever Elmwood Make sure the media has a contact person for homeless issues. Challenge the Press to get involved. Don’t be afraid to contact the Editor of the local papers and station managers of the TV stations. Meet with these people and state your case. Persistence is the key. Squeak, Squeak, Squeak.

7 How to get the attention of elected officials. Elected Officials are like the Homeless. They need lots of attention before you see results. Use Child Psychology. Play to their ego. Recognize them when they attend events. Thank them when they do good. Give them a sound byte or photo op. Give them an award. Be a stalker (not literally). Be Persistent. As disgusting as it may be – tell them how important they are to the cause. “We can’t do it without you.” Example – Buffalo’s Warming Centers.

8 Tasks of the Homeless Alliance Making Homelessness an issue in Buffalo and Erie County. Updating our 10-year plan engaging various leaders in the community. Consolidated Plan public hearings Poverty Workshop Dr. Dennis Culhane was brought into help educate our providers and reach out to others. Poverty Challenge - help to educate more people. No success with the mainstream media but we were close. Voter Registration Drive.

9 Completed a data analysis and published the results. Finally got some press. The media loves statistics. We filed the analysis with the Common Council and Erie County Legislature to force them to talk about the issue. I’ve been on the radio and TV talking about homelessness. We got the attention of the Governor’s office.

10 I don’t have all the answers. I’m here to learn and ask questions too. Dale Zuchlewski Executive Director Homeless Alliance of Western New York WWW.WNYHomeless.Org WWW.WNYHomeless.Org/Povertychallenge Find us on facebook too.

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