MCH Advocacy Fellowship Program

Fellowship Summary  

In 2022, several leaders in the Regional Expert Network worked together to create a strategic plan to increase lived experience leadership in the Minnesota homelessness response system. This plan focused on increasing the employment of people with lived experience of homelessness in state agencies and non-profit organizations but also included increasing lived experience leadership in Continua of Care and coalitions.

To carry out part of the Regional Expert Network’s vision, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless launched a pilot Advocacy Fellowship in August 2023. This program was created after six years of deeply collaborating and learning from Regional Expert Network members whose insight was instrumental in the creation of the Advocacy Fellowship. The goal of the Advocacy Fellowship is to provide career pathways for leaders with lived experience by providing them with hands-on training, experience, and valuable connections while also enhancing MCH’s advocacy. Currently, there are four Advocacy Fellows that specialize in four areas:

  • Engagement: Responsible for ensuring MCH is developing, strengthening, and tracking our relationships. This will have the most interaction with advocates, including planning and executing ways for advocates to be involved in the entire legislative process. This role is also responsible for ensuring we have both quantity and quality advocates who are active in our advocacy.
  • Policy: Responsible for ensuring MCH turns community-driven solutions into legislation. This will have the most interaction at the Capitol, including planning and executing a path forward to ensure the MCH Policy Agenda has the highest possible chance to succeed. This role is also responsible for providing ways for advocate leaders to visit with lawmakers.
  • Communications: Responsible for ensuring MCH is informing advocates of what MCH has done, is currently doing, and will do in the future. This will have the most interaction in creating content and materials that apply to advocates and legislators. This role is also responsible for providing ways for advocates to engage in various communications outlets.
  • Administrative Advocacy: Responsible for maintaining MCH relationships with State Agencies to ensure we are informed on legislation that will impact state-administered programs. This will include research visits to assist in writing legislation, technical assistance requests throughout our advocacy efforts, and informing community members of funding, accessibility, and policy changes.

This Fellowship is exclusively for people with lived experience of homelessness. Homelessness disproportionately hurts Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ people. We believe that these communities, and anyone who has experienced homelessness, are the experts and must be centered in the work we do together. We will not be able to end homelessness without these communities identifying the issues, and solutions, and making decisions. We recognize that marginalized groups have different access to employment and job advancement and believe strongly in leadership development and lifting the voices of non-traditional leadership.  We work with the right candidates to develop the necessary skills to be successful in this fellowship, including a budget for personal training.

Learn more about our current Fellows on our website here