invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 1,500,000 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....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When Times Get Tough, the Tough Get Tougher

The "Evil Diane" is coming out in me. Expect nothing less after the latest round of budget bamboozlement. I'm plotting our next strategy to help homeless families survive what is bound to be more than the common "hard times."

So, here's my idea: We, the advocates for kids who signed this letter begging our Prez and congressional leaders to have mercy on vulnerable kids, form an ad hoc committee, "Share the Shack," or something like that, to pursue non-traditional housing options in our communities. Texas families give us a perfect prototype, let's call it "Sharing the Bling."

A recent NYT article reports on a trend of building playhouses for the kids. Not just any kids, kids of mega-rich parents, like Ms.Schiller, who's husband is (ahem) an oil company exec. Here's a partial description of their daughter's playhouse: "the two-story 170-square-foot... vaulted ceilings..., hardwood floors and a faux fireplace with a fanciful mosaic mantel. The little stainless-steel sink in the kitchen has running water, and the matching stainless-steel mini fridge and freezer are stocked with juice boxes and Popsicles. Upstairs is a sitting area with a child-size sofa and chairs for watching DVDs on the 32-inch flat-screen TV. The windows, which all open, have screens to keep out mosquitoes, and there are begonias in the window boxes. And, of course, the playhouse is air-conditioned."

To do justice to these playhouses you need to read the article, which adds, “I think of it as bling for the yard,” said Ms. Schiller, 40. Some people might consider it “obnoxious” for a child to have a playhouse that costs more and has more amenities than some real houses, she conceded. Obnoxious? Nah. So far beyond it that I can't come up with a word.

OK, here's the idea. Get maps pointing out bling locations. Give them to local desperate families that have no homes. Provide transportation to the bling-address. Let them move into these nice playhouses. Let the money-endowed families pick up government slack, providing for the families' food, medical, child care, education, and so on. This will end the need for the seemingly endless "Stuff the Bus" projects to provide basic school supplies for income-deprived kids.

For those communities that lack bling, connect with the profit-laden builders constructing these mini-mansions and ask them to find some local trees for homes. I'm sure we'll have enough to go around (trees and families in need).

Best to get hopping on this project because bad weather is just around the corner. We'd hate to have shelter-less families littering the landscape.

Seems to me we have enough to go around. We just need to be creative about prying it from those who have it and sharing it with the growing urchin class.

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