Joaquin Uy, Communications Specialist
When I first joined the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, I had received various warnings from friends. Working for a legislative advocacy organization would make me an official Olympia insider. And seeing front row how laws really are made and passed would…basically kill my soul. I received warnings of horse-trading and backroom deals…politics!
Three years later, I’m thrilled to say that my friends were wrong. My experience at the Housing Alliance hasn’t jaded me. In fact, I continue to be inspired. And much of that inspiration comes from you the advocates.
You are the foundation of the Housing Alliance. Every year, an astounding mass of people send emails to their elected officials, converge on Olympia for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, gather at the Conference on Ending Homelessness, retweet and repost Housing Alliance social media posts, send us awesome notes about a legislator meeting, and so much more. And what’s even more amazing? The advocacy numbers keep growing. The movement to ensure all Washington residents have an opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities increases every year.
I could give you numbers and datasets about the advocacy network’s growth. But what I’ll treasure most from my time here at the alliance is meeting you face-to-face and exchanging stories.
Lisa, who is an Emerging Advocates Program graduate and Real Change vendor went from advocacy newbie to creating a web page to help folks share their own personal stories of homelessness.
Jamie runs a youth program. While, she advocates for affordable housing in the Asian/Pacific Islander community, she was also moved to share her own story at Advocacy Day. Almost in tears, she broke down how repeat tenant screening fees prevented her from accessing a home in increasingly unaffordable Seattle.
Andrea recently arrived to Washington State to start a new life with her family, after losing nearly everything to a hurricane. Despite an unsteady few months, they found a home and Andrea recorded her family’s story to use for advocacy. She also became a social media advocacy powerhouse.
During the gloomy days of session, when it seemed like all housing and homelessness legislative hope had passed, it’s these stories that kept me going.
That’s also why I made sure that as much as possible our communications to you was exciting and creative. You deserve emails that aren’t boring, that break down the wonk and make the enigma that can be the legislature easy to decipher and think about. Whether, it’s a thank you that includes animation of an excited jumping dog or a clapping rabbit, I wanted to make the world of housing and homelessness policy accessible. I wanted you to look forward to reading (or skimming) our emails. And based on our open rates, I think we’ve succeeded.
That’s why it is with a heavy heart, that I depart from my position at the Housing Alliance. An awesome opportunity has presented itself at the City of Seattle, and I would be foolish to pass on it. Besides, I believe someone else, someone new, should experience the joy and wonder of this unique perch at the alliance. A new face should join this small and impactful team. My coworkers are a lot like you, driven, passionate troublemakers dedicated to fighting evil, whether through securing a sizable investment in the Housing Trust Fund or educating legislators about laws that will protect tenants. I’m going to really miss the Housing Alliance team.
But as you might already know, I’m quite active online. This isn’t good-bye. It’s I’ll see you around. Keep in touch. You can always find me here: twitter.com/joaquinuy.
It’s been an honor and a pleasure working with you as a Housing Alliance staff member. And it will continue being an honor and a pleasure standing shoulder to shoulder with you as a fellow housing and homelessness advocate.
P.S. Know anyone who'd be a great fit for my position? Send them the Communications Specialist job position. Thanks!
P.P.S How awesome is it to leave on such a high note?!