The Western Regional Advocacy Project was founded in 2005 by local social justice organizations across the West Coast to expose and eliminate the root causes of homelessness and poverty, empower communities to demand protection of civil and human rights, and advocate for restoring federal funding for affordable housing. Our members represent the diversity of experiences and faces of what is a growing human rights crisis in every community in the United States.
We have the resources and the responsibility to ensure that every individual and family can access basic necessities such as adequate housing, food, and medical care, without discrimination. However, the debate on inequality and poverty primarily focuses on fixing “broken” people rather than the broken system, as evidenced by the rising number of homeless persons and the number of laws directly targeting them.
By empowering homeless people and communities, WRAP strives to balance the debate by putting forth a vital alternative perspective, pushing for smarter, representative, and accountable public policy that protects those most in need rather than punishing them for their circumstances. Through our research, community organizing, and policy advocacy, we aim to translate the outrage at sleeping bodies in public into a catalyst for change in attitudes and practices rather than something to quickly hide away from sight, disregarding human dignity and rights for appearances’ sake.
Affordable housing and addressing structural inequalities will be a long and hard fight. Prioritizing localized community organizing and connecting these efforts to larger policy conversations puts homeless people in the driver’s seat, and it’s slowly but surely created change.