Completing the Volunteer for the Homeless Patch Program® is a suggested prerequisite for earning your Shelter Advocate Patch. Your volunteer experience will help provide you with the knowledge needed to advocate for the homeless in your community. You can also opt to complete the Volunteer for the Homeless Patch Program® requirements during the time you earn this patch.
Things to find out:
- What is shelter homeless vs. unsheltered homeless. Helpful Link: Understanding the Different Types of Homelessness
- What is the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act? Helpful Link: McKinney-Vento Act at a Glance
- Who is eligible for McKinney-Vento services? Helpful Link: Determining Eligibility for Rights and Services Under the McKinney-Vento Act
- How do find a McKinney-Vento Coordinator? Helpful Link: State Coordinators
- Is it a crime to be homeless? Helpful Link: Criminalization of Homelessness
- What kind of homeless actions are considered crimes? Helpful Link: Why turning homelessness into a crime is cruel and costly
- What is the Homeless Bill of Rights? Helpful Link: Homeless Bill of Rights
Requirement 2: Do It!
Choose a shelter issue to advocate for. Some ideas:
- Educate other students about homelessness.
- Contact your McKinney-Vento Coordinator to make them aware of any violations in your school district.
- Ask your neighbors to donate toys, books or clothes that you can take to the homeless shelters.
- Get your local senior center involved by asking them to knit or crochet hats, gloves and scarfs. Ask if they are willing to teach others in the community.
- Get a group together to make and distribute sandwiches to the homeless.
- Raise money for Habitat for Humanity. (Your organization may not allow you to raise funds, check first.)
Who do you want to reach? Some ideas:
- Your Family
- Your Neighbors
- Politicians — Helpful link: How to Contact Your Elected Officials
- Your Classmates
- Your Fellow Worshipers
- Other Groups or Organizations
How will you reach them? Helpful link: How to Advocate for Your Cause
- Talk to them. Consider wearing a button as a conversation starter.
- Hand out flyers. Consider setting up a booth to collect donations if allowed.
- Hang tags on doors and mail boxes.
- Make posters.
- Reach out with social media such as Facebook.
- Send a press release to your local newspaper or school newspaper. Helpful link: How to write a press release.
Always remember to thank those who helped with your advocacy program.
Ways to say Thank You:
- Thank the community as a whole on social media.
- Give certificates of appreciation.
Discuss Your Advocacy Project
- Do you think your advocacy project helped to improve the lives of the homeless?
- Will you continue?
- What else can you do to further improve conditions for the homeless in your community?
Congratulations! You have earned the Shelter Advocate patch. It can be purchased at our partner site MakingFriends®.com.
You can become an Outreach Welfare Advocate by earning all 5 outreach advocate level patches.
Did completing this Patch Program® give you some ideas for becoming a Shelter Delegate?
See all our current Advocate level Patch Program®s:
Related Fun Patch Ideas:
Note: Many of the links provided to assist with completing our Patch Program®s are external and do not imply an endorsement or recommendation. At the time of publication, external content was vetted to the best of our ability. Your views and ideas may vary and we do not intend for you to substitute our opinions for yours. Research the topic thoroughly before beginning a project. As always, make sure children access the internet only under safe-surfing conditions.