The decision making process on the expenditure of Federal funds through local cities and towns is unclear right now. Local advocacy is needed to get information about how federal funds are used in cities and towns and what process there may be for public input.
In order for advocates to reach out directly to local municipal officials and decision makers and ask to be engaged, to offer input, and help organizing and getting input from members of the community, the following template letter on engagement to send to municipal officials can be used:
Dear [MAYOR/MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL],
We write to share an exciting new collaborative effort being coordinated by board members and staff of several organizations in [COMMUNITY]. We recognize that our staff, as well as yours, are flat out working the front lines of this pandemic. They are responding to the unimaginable needs of [COMMUNITY’S] residents. We need to come out of our individual silos and work together to weave a safety net and save our city.
The initial meetings have included staff and board members from [ORGANIZATIONS, FAITH LEADERS, ETC.]. We want to ensure our organizations and the residents we serve have a voice at the table to help direct public, and leverage private, recovery-related resources to [COMMUNITY] where they are most needed.
We hope to serve as an advisory council to city leaders (the Mayor, City Council, Departments, etc.) to share our perspective of what’s happening on the ground, identify gaps that need filling with additional resources, and to be recognized as partners in designing solutions.
To this end, we urgently request a meeting with you to discuss any upcoming allocations and prioritizing of funds to bring our community perspectives to ensure broad access and complimentary coverage among agencies administering the funds.
As the scope of need in [COMMUNITY] becomes clearer, we hope to build a collaborative public/private planning space to raise and distribute additional funds and, crucially, to invest in system-change solutions.
We trust you will see our input as an important piece of what needs to happen to bring our city back. The absolute devastation is so clear through our work and the requests that reflect the very real suffering of our neighbors.
We recognize the need for expediency and streamlined processes during this extraordinary time and hope to work as a complement to the work of the city.
Thank you for your time and attention. We look forward to finding a time to meet with you very soon.