idealists among homeless advocates or those working for homeless agencies like to repeat cliches when it comes to the homeless. they say we can end homelessness with whatever the popular program of the year happens to be. they use terms that sound official, effective and quiet frankly make for a good read on the homeless news feeds. they state, repeat or quote different volumes of information, financial figures or mounds of data from the federal government to prove that these programs are working. this happens month after month and year after year. but the number of homeless people in america remains the same. the headlines from across the nation when it comes to housing the homeless and the success we are having in the effort to reduce homelessness sounds great. just scan thru the homeless news feeds and you'll see it. but if the number of homeless people basically remains unchanged, if the women and children are still dying on our streets due to being homeless, if we still have over 13 kids dying alone every nite, then how can that be called success? it isn't. it's a disgrace. it's shameful. it's sad, it's an indictment about the moral compass of this country and each one of us.
we need to change our thinking. we need to change our strategies. we need to change our whole homeless advocacy and agency network. we need to do that now, not ten years from now when we realize the latest plan isn't working. we need to do that as soon as possible so we don't allow any more needless deaths or misery. we need to find another way to deal with homelessness before we indoctrinate yet another generation to homelessness and all that comes with it. but how can we do this? what can we do differently than we have done in the past that will have a quantifiable impact on the homeless population? what can we do to rescue the homeless from the streets?
trying to make a difference requires something that this country seems to have forgotten in recent years. it requires commitment, it requires will and it requires more attention than a two day trending line on twitter. it requires the compassion and willingness to help our fellow human beings and take responsibility for the well being of our most vulnerable citizens. we need awareness of what's happening in our own city and our own neighborhood. we need awareness of the suffering of the women and children who sleep alone on our streets in the city we live in. we need to be aware of the people behind the coats, beards and hats we pass every day.we need to decide to step up and have an impact on the people in our own city who don't have a roof over their head or any place to go. we need to decide that this shouldn't and no longer can happen in our city. our city...the one we live in. the one we work in. the one we call home. the one we should be proud of, but can't be as long as there are people struggling to just survive another cold night or search for someplace warm on the cold days or are in constant worry about the next meal or where they will find it. our city.
i've always said we will never solve homelessness from a federal level, no matter how much money is dumped into the process in any one given period of time. the money eventually dries up and we end up at square one or worse. we can only solve homelessness from a local level. it begins and it ends with you and i. only we can do it and do it effectively and efficiently. you might say to yourself...why should i ? you might say to yourself...it's not my problem. you should say to yourself, if not me...then who? if i don't help this woman, if i don't help this child, if i don't help this elderly person....then who will? if i don't take responsibility for the men, women and children in my own city, in my own neighborhood....then who will? if i can't be a part of the solution for this atrocity, then what will the solution be? will it ever be? if i don't help the homeless survive another night, another week, another month...then who will. if you don't.....some won't.
history is full of people who made a difference. history tells us that one person can indeed make a difference anb begin a collective movement to solve an injustice, to solve an issue that goes against the very basic morality of each of us. time has told us that each of us can make a difference. history has also told us what happens when we don't step up and take responsibility for those around us. it's time to take back the responsibility and ownership of the problems in our own city. it's time we stop thinking that someone else will do it or the government will solve the issue. while we think that, while we ignore the problem, people continue to die needlessly. children continue to suffer. women continue to struggle to survive. our streets. our city. our citizens. our people.
stand up. say enough. let's all solve the issue of homelessness...together...individually...collectively...each of us. each one of us.
see you around town