As the national health conversation shifted toward “social determinants of health” and “health in all policies,” so too did housers begin a discussion of “housing as a platform.” What we all collectively realized is that our decisions have broader consequences, and that we must all work together to create real and lasting change for the people we serve.
When advocating for the needs of youth who are homeless, it would be logical to support adding shelter beds for the community. But when advocates take the time to authentically listen to those people we are striving to serve, a more nuanced set of needs emerge.
Most of us who work in the policy arena, at least initially, do so more out of necessity more than desire. Obstacles and barriers that are created at the system-level (often, but not always, unintentionally), must be challenged at the system-level, at the policy level.
Maybe if we better understood our own motivations, we’d be more successful impacting others. Why do we think it is the facts that will motivate them when it is seldom what motivates us?
There is no “science” to trying to change public policy. It is more of an art. An art that is constantly evolving and growing through the development and sharing of good ideas and lessons learned.