Advocacy means supporting and defending a cause you believe in. Although the term “advocate” is often used to refer to a paid legal representative, it also refers to someone who argues for a cause or course of action. Advocates support and argue for the rights of those who are in need or suffering from injustice.

They also provide them the skills and opportunities to speak on their own behalf. Advocates work for justice by raising awareness of or changing situations and policies that are unjust. Advocacy takes place on many different levels. Professional lobbyists advocate for specific legislation; nonprofits advocate for their clients and legislation that affects them; and individual citizens advocate for a community need or a cause. Each advocate uses his or her right to participate in our nation’s democratic process.

In order to see a radical change in the housing situation, we have to do much more than help build and repair houses. We must educate ourselves and others, promote the cause of adequate housing and advocate to influence the systems, policies and laws that affect access to housing and infrastructure.

The Government Relations & Advocacy (GRA) Office of Habitat for Humanity International works to provide the global Habitat network with strategic direction and support to change policies and systems to eliminate barriers to adequate, affordable housing in order to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Use your voice for change

Have you met Theo? In this new stop-motion video from Habitat for Humanity, Theo shows how we can all come together to help the 1.6 billion people around the world in need of decent housing. By collectively using our voices, we can advance access to affordable housing. Watch the video below and find out how.

So, you’re probably wondering what now? How can I help advocate for affordable housing? We’re so glad you asked. We can really use your help locally. Get in touch with Habitat for Humanity of Seattle-King County to see what their current needs are. You may be able to join an advocacy committee, help draft an advocacy campaign, reach out to current stakeholders and invite them to participate at the next Habitat on the Hill day in Olympia, or simply use your voice to write to your legislators.

If you have past advocacy experience and want to help Habitat Young Professionals educate our constituency, please go here and tell us a little bit more about yourself.