As part of Community Voices Heard's 2004 strategic plan, the organization established a goal of creating statewide power, on top of the citywide power that the organization had already built up in New York City. Statewide power building became a goal in an effort to be able to have more influence on the policies and programs that came down from the state capital, to develop a network of welfare recipients and other low-income families across the state that could work together in consituent-led coalitions, and in order to bring our successful model to other parts of the state where low-income families were had no organizing outlets.
CVH has since built four separate but connected chapters around the state of New York: NYC (covering all five boroughs), Yonkers (Westchester County), Newburgh (Orange County) and Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County). Each new chapter began with a scan of county in order to identify organizing needs, opportunities and challenges as well as similarly oriented groups or potential partners. Once a location of operation was identified, a non-partisan voter education and mobilization project was used to build an initial base and carry out early issue identification as a way to assess what to work on and how. Next, an organizer was hired to develop that base into a core leadership and those issues into local campaigns.
While each chapter works on local citywide and countywide issues, all four chapters of CVH also come together collectively to tackle issues at the state level that affect members and constituents similarly across geography.
Current Regional and Statewide Issue Focus
- Statewide budget issues, including progressive taxation
- Welfare Reform and Workforce Development
- Opening up our democracy, including fair elections that strengthen the voice of our communities
- Affordable Housing Preservation and Expansion
- Evolved from a single-issue, single-location organization to a multi-issue, multi-chapter organization
- Contributed to the passage of a Shelter Allowance Law that brings $47 million yearly in additional state funding for public housing
- Won a $25 million statewide Transitional Jobs Program for welfare recipients, now implemented in 48 counties across the state
To get involved in CVH's Statewide Organizing Efforts, contact Jenny Loeb at jenny@CVHaction.org or by phone at 845-857-8415.