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Partnering with Critical Exposure allowed us to further develop the creative skills of the students and utilize those skills to provide greater context to the issues.
In 2007, Critical Exposure partnered with the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) to bring attention to youth homelessness in DC. Critical Exposure and DCAYA trained several formerly homeless youth in the Sasha Bruce Independent Living Program to use photography to illustrate aspects of living on the streets.
The youths’ photographs were turned into postcards and other advocacy tools used to share their stories with DC policymakers. Youth also prepared testimonies about their experiences and the need for more funding to support programs addressing youth homelessness, and they testified during a hearing before the Department of Human Services and the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Thanks in part to the students’ testimony and advocacy, Councilmember Marion Barry publicly committed to set aside up to $4 million for homeless youth services and supports. DCAYA members and staff convened a meeting with staff from the offices of Councilmember Tommy Wells and Mayor Adrian Fenty to discuss long-term planning to end youth homelessness in the District. Department of Human Services Director Clarence Carter said youth had not previously been part of this conversation.