this winter could have been different. we had a brutal winter last year and learned many lessons from it. we could have spent the spring and summer preparing. we could have made a sensible plan to deal with another winter and the continuing rise of the number of homeless people across the united states. we could have made accommodations for the families with children that we let down during last year's cold. we could made amends for those who died in the weather because there was no alternative for them. we could have changed things. but we didn't. we spent the spring and summer slashing budgets and defunding missions and shelters...the one effective and proven tool we have to assist the homeless. we spent months diverting funds to house a small number of the homeless population that hud and usich had broken into subgroups so they could make the next big headline. politicians on all levels, the federal level in particular, ignored the most vulnerable of the homeless population...children....for the more politically valuable of these subgroups that had been formed. our agency leaders attended feel good meetings and conventions and rehashed the same topics and one liners from the last five meetings and conventions. federal, state and city leaders spent billions of dollars to house a group of the homeless that would bring them headlines and accolades during an election year. hud and usich cheered free housing with no strings as a stunning success. all this while the homeless children in our country grew by record numbers. while hud was touting a 10% decrease in our homeless population, another devastating winter for our homeless children was beginning to approach. another winter of putting our future at risk and ignoring the one group of homeless that needs and deserves our utmost attention and priority.
our advocacy system and homeless agencies were hijacked this spring and summer by an uncaring and misguided federal government. in their view they collected much needed political headlines and attention. in reality it cost us money and precious time. money and time that could have at the least eased the homeless' burdens this winter and at best saved lives, particularly the lives of women and children. perhaps this spring we will do things differently. perhaps after another winter of needless suffering and basic survival, our homeless will get the attention and effort they've always deserved. perhaps it will be for the right reasons instead of self serving ones. perhaps.....for the ones that survive...it will be better next year.
see you around town