What do these actions really mean for America? Are we giving up on ending homelessness for all?
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So, what will happen? Will the great income divide split this nation to the point of revolution? Or will common-sense leaders prevail, as they work toward reducing the income gap?
I met a father at the Virginia Williams Family Resources Center, the District of Columbia’s central intake for homeless families. He was there with his wife and their baby and toddler because they were running out of money to pay for the motel room they’d been staying in. He said he was afraid the children would be taken away from them. I asked him if anyone had told him that. Not exactly, but he was worried. I think of him now because the Family Resources Center has started reporting all homeless families with no place to stay to the Child and Family Services Agency, the District’s child welfare program.
How would you like to try living on $275 a month — and in the District of Columbia no less? Inconceivable for a single person. What then for a single mother with two kids?
Under Mayor Gray’s proposed budget, more than 6,100 families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will lose a fifth of their meager cash benefits come October — this on top of the same sized-cut imposed last April.
I met a homeless family the other day. The mother was, to all appearances, six months pregnant. The father was tending to their toddler.
They had no place to stay and no money for food. And the Family Resources Center — the District’s central intake for homeless families — couldn’t help them.
Everyone who lives in the District of Columbia knows that there’s a yawning gulf between the haves and the have-nots. But the new income inequality report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute could still be a shocker. I know it was for me.
Turns out that the income gap between the richest and poorest 20% of households is the third largest among U.S. cities — this based on data from the 2010 American Community Survey.
This year’s State of Homelessness report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) presents, in some ways, a rosier picture than last year’s. Big headline is that homelessness decreased between 2009 and 2011 — not only the overall rate, but the rates for people in families, veterans and the chronically homeless, i.e., individuals with disabilities, including […]
Back in February, DC Councilmembers Jim Graham and Michael Brown introduced a bill that would, among other things, give us a better fix on who is homeless in the District and what services are — and ought to be — available for them.
Nothing’s happened with the bill, so far as I can tell, since the hearing in June.
But something has happened to address the main focus of the hearing — unaccompanied homeless youth.
The District of Columbia has achieved the dubious distinction of beingrated as a jurisdiction with the highest level of vulnerability to increased homelessness. Only three states got as high a rating from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Should this set off alarm bells? Probably, though the people who need to hear them don’t seem to be listening to alarms already sounded.