Last month, from what I imagine to be the dark DC basement where the Government Accounting Office (GAO) probably operates, a hugely-significant report was issued. This document validated what many of us have been saying for years--that the too-narrow definition of "homeless" confuses Congress, and worse, keeps too many families, youth and individuals from getting the life-saving help they need.
Vindication isn't what we're after, though I'd have to admit it feels good. Some of the so-called (and unnamed in this post anyhow, but look in my previous posts if you're curious) national advocacy groups had fought a change of definition. One Senate staffer told me it would "open a floodgate" if we increased the number of homeless people by changing the definition to what I and others believe is reality. We're not there yet--but having an official government publication on our side helps.
The other glimmer of hope comes from an unlikely place--Congress. The newly-formed Congressional Caucus on Homelessness has the potential to generate more comprehensive discussion, perhaps leading to action, on this long-ignored issue afflicting millions in our country.
One of the caucus chairs, my Congresswoman, Judy Biggert, recently spoke at the premiere screening of "Homeless: Motel Kids in Orange County," a new documentary airing on 7/26 on HBO. As the title suggests, the richest county in the country has kids, with their families, living in motels. I previewed the film and, despite my vast experiences with families in motels, I was aghast at what I saw.
Her remarks pave the way for progress on this solvable plight. Maybe I'm reading too much into her comments,
"...join me in sharing our passion with others, and pushing Congress to redouble its efforts to ensure that homeless kids have access to secure, stable housing and the same educational opportunities that millions of Americans take for granted."What can you do? A few things quickly and easily:
- Sign this petition urging HUD to revise its policies regarding housing assistance for homeless families often denied because of arbitrary decisions.
- Join our Facebook campaign for our upcoming EPIC Journey and
- Sign up on the HEAR US website for the newsletter that will keep you posted on legislative and other activities.
Seems to me, given the unprecedented gridlock gridding and locking immobilizing our national policymakers, that perhaps our hopes rest in the little children, leading the adults to realize that if we don't do something to change our destructive trajectory we're doomed.