FOREVER HOMELESS -- Forward widely

I apologize for failing to post regularly, as I have been extremely busy lately. There is a lot happening in the way of homeless advocacy and activism as well as social justice. I am deeply involved in the planning of direct actions which are designed to speak truth to power and encourage the U.S. Government to fund human need here at home, not wars abroad and Wall Street. Even so, here is something I wrote yesterday and e-mailed to many people. It sums up the CONTINUING homeless crisis:

FOREVER HOMELESS -- Forward widely

Many poor people in what has been said to be the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world -- the United States of America -- are doomed to be HOMELESS FOREVER. Now there's no telling just how long this country will retain those titles and some people think we're losing ground rather quickly -- which is all the more reason (in the eyes of Congress and the president) to put our precious resources into imperialistic pursuits abroad rather than domestic human need. But, whether or not the Obama administration and Congress know or care, their dismal record on domestic affairs is making them the scourge of national governments.

That said, social programs that have for decades guaranteed that basic human needs of the nation's impoverished masses would be provided are being done away with, slowly but surely. After all, workers are being replaced by computers and the growing number of needy, unemployed people are becoming more expendable, thus deteriorating their capacity to sell their labor and eliminating their most valuable bargaining chip -- the fact that the employer NEEDED them to work.

As workers become less necessary and the increasing number of unemployed and under-employed become more dependent on social services, the governments in the country find it more conscionable to decrease their sustenance and to give them the run-around. Such has been the case with housing.

During the 2011 DC Budget Fight, advocates and activists were able to pressure the local government into finding $17 million to fill the projected $20.5 million budget gap for homeless services for FY 2012. However, we were not able to get them to replenish the $18.4 million that they gutted from the fund that creates affordable housing. (And many people's cash benefits were reduced.) This has, in effect, relegated those who make far less than the $25/hour needed to live in Washington, DC to remaining in shelter and being FOREVER HOMELESS.

Some of those housed by DC Government's Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program are being given Housing Choice Vouchers by the U.S. Government's Dept. of Housing and urban Development (HUD) -- shifting them from a local housing program to a federal housing program. Simultaneously, Congress is strongly considering decreasing the HUD budget by $5.7 billion -- a move that would cause 600,000 families nationally to lose their housing. If this happens, DC could lose 5,000 of its 11,000 housing vouchers, affecting some 10,000 to 12,000 individuals. As a matter of fact, HUD's national office has sent the directive to all 3,000 housing authorities across the nation to start making priority lists for who will lose their housing vouchers first, in the case of a funding cutback. Some time after October 1st, 2011 we could see homelessness increase exponentially.

But let's not lose hope, put our heads in our hands and cry.....TAKE ACTION!!!!!

SHARC (Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change) meets in the basement of the CCNV Shelter at 425 2nd Street NW, Washington, DC every Monday (except holidays) from 1 to 3 PM. We will organize indefinitely and proactively to make housing a human right.

I hope to see you there!!!!!

Let's not allow out-of-touch governments to decide our fate.


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