Demanding an End to Homelessness on Capitol Hill
But not only is March 30th, 2012 the official start of a "revolutionary confrontation" of the Capitalist system which causes the few to horde the wealth of the nation while the many lack their most basic human needs. It is also the date by which my colleagues and I hope to address the U.S. Congress so as to demand that they fund housing for women, children and families.
This effort is part of a much bigger picture though. It is one of the first tactics being used by a new "housing movement" whose primary target is Congress. Let's bear in mind that movements are broad, decentralized, society-wide efforts to usher in sweeping social change. Within a movement there are many targeted campaigns, each with a well-defined end goal. Campaigns consist of strategies which are short-term plans that may run for as long as several months. And strategies consist of sequential tactics.
That said, there have been and still are other social movements, some of them around the "human right to housing". This developing housing movement is not independent of the broader movements which presently exist, but is a cooperative and supportive movement which intends to draw the masses into a more focused struggle for positive change while presenting our demands in a diplomatic way. After all, giving Congress the opportunity to meet a set of reasonable demands which were presented in a decent manner only to have them flatly refuse to meet those demands will give the actions of the Occupy Movement much more context and help to make the case for revolution.
Other homeless advocates and I have been tapped by a Hill staffer to assist in the development of legislation that will allocate $30 Billion toward housing for women, children and families. In a separate piece of legislation, we hope to get Congress to fund housing for single men who can't work, can't find work or don't make a living wage on their jobs. One of the requirements for receiving housing through the agencies that implement this legislation will be that able-bodied people must find employment or volunteer, as we don't want to come across as supporting unambitious freeloaders. Additionally, we have been asked for our input on a bill which has been drafted (and redrafted) and which, when completed, will hopefully create jobs and job training for ALL unemployed people who can work.
SHARC (Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change) -- the group of homeless advocates for which I am the chairman -- is beginning efforts to find those who can and will come with us to address Congress and educate them on the needs of the poor and homeless as well and to help them formulate a comprehensive plan for ending extreme poverty and homelessness.
Our government has fallen out of touch with the struggles of the masses to obtain their most basic human needs -- if ever they WERE in touch. We need to help them understand why people become homeless as well as what can be done to end and prevent homelessness.
The process will include:
1 -- Presenting the "SENSE OF THE HOUSE RESOLUTION TO END HOMELESSNESS IN AMERICA FOR FAMILIES, WOMEN AND CHILDREN" to Congress. While it is not absolutely guaranteed that Congress will adopt the resolution, it is very unlikely that they would flatly reject it; because, that would amount to an overt admission that they care nothing for women or children and that they have no desire to preserve the family unit.
2 -- MOVEMENT-BUILDING: Drawing people into the fight for social justice, human rights and systemic change. Within this process we will be building public support for the non-binding resolution (which hopefully will have been adopted by Congress at that point). This movement can then put forth one of its many demands -- the demand that housing be treated as a basic human right, decommodified and afforded to all people regardless of race or class.
But all of this brings me to my most important point: WE NEED YOU AND OTHERS TO GET ONBOARD AN RALLY WITH US. So, PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG POST WITH ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.
Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC (Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)
Cell phone: (240) 305-5255
425 2nd St. NW
Washington, DC 20001-2003
Labels: direct action, employment, homeless women, Homeless Work, housing rights, Human Rights, Occupy DC, Occupy Wall St, POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN, POOR PEOPLE'S MARCH, revolution, social justice, unemployment