invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 3 MILLION kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Make Homeless Kids Count!

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All across the country well-intentioned people are pursuing
the task equivalent to counting angels on the head of a pin--HUD's Point-In-Time
count, or PIT, where in a 24-hour timeslot volunteers go hither-and-yon to count
homeless adults.

I attended a training where volunteers were told "don't count the kids." I sat
on my hands and practiced meditation to keep from disrupting the session.
Don't count the kids, wait till they're adults then they'll count.

Hopefully this will be the last "Don't Count the Kids" homeless count. With
every new administration comes new policies from HUD, the PIT agency.

But a move is afoot to make sure kids count. Congresswoman Judy Biggert
(R-13th/IL) and a bipartisan group of enlightened co-sponsors have introduced

HR 29, the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2009.

This bill would change the way homeless people are counted, including families
and teens on their own when tallying the numbers. It's an effort that has built
in momentum, and one that needs to happen soon so Congress will actually get the
idea that homelessness among families and teens is as huge of an issue as it
really is.

This blog would be way too long to explain why and how this homeless census got
distorted, and why some people want it to stay that way. In my humble opinion,
it's the money, stupid.

Money for housing and homelessness has been a pittance even longer than I've
been involved, 23 years. Homeless people aren't usually the most political
active and the few people who try to lobby are way overpowered by "the suits"
who are jostling about the halls of Congress with big money concerns.

But we propose to bring some highly visible lobbyists to urge Congresspersons to
join as co-sponsors of HR 29. And you can be a part of this movement to make
homeless kids count.

has prepared a simple fax to use to ask your legislator to
join as an HR 29 co-sponsor. On the form is the heartbreaking image of babies
toes, or Piggies.

The fax is overtly designed to capture the attention of the recipient,
identifying babies as part of the homeless population. If they can live with
that thought, well, that says a lot.

So if you want homeless kids to count, join the
campaign. And get your friends, the people you work or
worship with, your service get the idea. The Piggies form is simple
and designed to be easy to spread over the Internet.

Seems to me we need to turn our election/inaugural fervor into
action. With so many issues clamoring for attention, how about picking one where
the beneficiaries of improved policies are pretty well voiceless and invisible,
not to mention helpless?


Michaelann Bewsee said...

I hadn't heard about this and I'll promote it as best I can.

Diane Nilan said...

Great! Thanks! It's one that is as simple as we can make it but it has a good visual impact.