According to our homeless children/teen "lobbyist" Barbara Duffield, hopes in DC are at the lowest point ever for negotiating improvements in the definition of homelessness to include the population missed thus far--families and teens who are "outside" the system.
HUD seems to be fighting this effort to expand the definition to include families and teens in motels, doubled-up with others, or outside the sparse HUD-funded shelter system. Big cities--with their big power--seem to be behind some of this strange behavior, maybe because they get funding to get those "chronic" homeless adults off the streets. I dunno...
In the meantime, in Georgia, walking along a highway, a wildly-determined 11-year-old Zach Bonner aims toward DC, wanting to meet with President Obama to raise awareness about homeless children, an issue that rightly appalls him. Zach started his nonprofit, Little Red Wagon Foundation, when he was 8. He's already walked from his home near Tampa to Tallahassee, then Tallahassee to Atlanta, taking important steps to walk the walk.
And I sit in Tillie--my RV home/office, desperately trying to help both Barbara and Zach's efforts. With technology at my fingertips, I can blog, call, and tweet. I'm pleading with people to:
- Urge your congressperson to support HR 29, the Homeless Children and Youth Act, which expands the definition of homelessness to include kids identified by schools as "homeless" under the HUD definition.
- Urge your congressperson to support the expanded definition as described in this document by sending the Piggies-format message.