Advocacy Priorities for 2023
Our Advocacy Mission & Vision
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s advocacy work informs systems change at the local, state and federal level by leveraging the expertise of staff and the experiences of program participants to advocate on behalf of those who are hurting to be empowered, valued, and healed. Through this engagement, LMM can continue to provide transformational services while reducing the need for safety net services.
In 2023, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry will advocate for funding that lessens the harm done by the pandemic and for systems change that support the agency’s following core values:
à Housing is a human right. We believe that homelessness should be rare, brief, and non-reoccurring, and that individuals who are experiencing homelessness be treated with dignity and respect. Individuals, families, youth, members of the LGBTQI+ community, and seniors experiencing homelessness should have access to safe shelter, behavioral health supports, affordable housing, and the social services necessary to move toward stability and when appropriate, independence.
à Returning citizens deserve second chances. Stability and normalcy for returning citizens will only occur through the removal of collateral sanctions. Too often, rules and restrictions follow individuals formerly incarcerated limiting their ability to engage civically, to access employment, housing, health care, transportation, insurance, and education. By limiting these barriers, returning citizens will be truly free, and the cycle of recidivism, broken.
à Ending racism in all its forms. To move our nation forward, we must first acknowledge our past and craft policy solutions that both overcome this legacy of racism and advance equitable solutions that benefit all citizens. This includes addressing the nation’s legacy of racism and segregation and how it directly influences policies related to housing, the criminal legal system, and health.
This work, conducted in partnership with program participants, the LMM Staff Advocacy Committee, the LMM Board of Director’s, and partner organizations, will contribute to a stronger community with more equitable opportunity for all.
2023 LMM Advocacy Priorities
- Expand tenant protections. LMM will work with partners to reduce barriers to housing and the long-term repercussions of evictions. This includes, but is not limited to, advocating to end Source of Income discrimination, for Pay-to-Stay protections, and to advance a Fair Chance Housing Ordinance that will reduce barriers to housing for individuals formerly incarcerated.
- Increase local, state, and federal investment in safe and affordable housing. LMM will advocate for government investments that would expand the availability of housing that is affordable and safe (i.e., in a low-crime community, lead-free, has access to appropriate utilities). LMM will also advocate for there to be a sufficient amount of housing for individuals leaving foster care, who are aging, and who face barriers due to criminal background.
- Increase funding for providers of homeless services. LMM will advocate for funding to ensure that homeless services providers can provide high-quality, temporary shelter for single adults, families, youth, members of the LGBTQI+ community, and seniors. LMM will also advocate for innovative solutions that divert people from shelter like direct cash transfers. To allow for high quality services and for staff partners to earn a living wage, these amounts should reflect changes to inflation and cost of living adjustments.
Reform the Criminal Justice System
- Support efforts to keep individuals out of the criminal justice system. LMM supports comprehensive efforts to keep individuals from becoming legal system involved. This includes, but is not limited to, advocating for investments in police reform, diversion programs, and bail reform.
- Advance policies that support the best possible outcomes for those involved in the justice system. LMM supports legislation that eliminates mandatory minimums, provides those with underlying addictions or mental health issues access to treatment, and creates opportunities for education and training while incarcerated.
- Reduce collateral sanction and create smooth paths to reentry and reintegration into society. LMM supports the reduction of the nearly 1,100 laws and administrative rules that limit opportunities for Ohioans with convictions who have served their time. LMM is specifically focused on barriers to housing, employment, and transportation.
Advance Racial Equity
- Racism is a public health crisis. In 2020 the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County declared racism a public health crisis. Both governments are now working to identify and advance policies that would eliminate our nation’s legacy of racism. LMM will participate in efforts that relate most directly to our direct service work.
- Support civic engagement. LMM will work to ensure our program participants and staff partners are aware of the power of their voice, and understand the connection between being civically engaged and creating a more just community. LMM will ensure staff partners and those we serve are informed about upcoming elections, how to register to vote, and options for voting.