“For there to be meaningful policy change, the rules have to be crafted somewhat by the people who are impacted most.”
– Jim Devine, Homeless Voices for Justice Advocate
Over the past week, Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ) hosted its annual Candidates Forums. This year’s forums offered a chance for Portland City Council candidates and candidates running for the Maine House of Representatives to connect with people with lived experiences of homelessness, hunger, and poverty.
At the start of each forum, HVJ facilitators asked candidates questions about the right to shelter, government funds for affordable housing, legal protections for people experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder programs, and work requirements for federal assistance programs. They then opened the floor to questions and comments from the audience, giving individuals a chance to share their personal experiences of homelessness and how current policies affect them every day.
Along with hosting these forums, HVJ members and Preble Street Advocacy staff have been busy ensuring that everyone – especially people experiencing homelessness – knows their voting rights and is informed on the issues and candidates on this year’s ballot. They look forward to seeing you at the polls on November 8, and remember, YOU DON’T NEED A HOME TO VOTE!