author: Kevin M. Keating
According to some new government report, there are 754,000 people living on the streets of America - about 300,000 more than there are beds in shelters. In 2000, the census returned a figure of under 200,000, which was widely considered to be an undercount - but by 500K? That is a BIG undercount. I guess the homeless people are just really good at hiding. Just like Bin Laden, or something.
What interests me about this figure - 300,000 without beds - is how small it feels for some reason. Sure, it is definitely far too many, and definitely something that needs to be solved by deeply examining and fixing many aspects of American life, but it doesn’t seem like a completely unmanageable number.
How expensive could it be to create permanent housing for this many people? Or for agencies to contact them individually and help them get jobs and keep them and become financially stable enough to move into their own residence? Surely not even close to the $400 billion and counting spent on the Iraq “War.”
I Mean, Seriously...
Where are our priorities as a country? As individuals? What is this American Life we claim to be protecting in Iraq? A way of life that says it is okay for one in three hundred Americans to sleep on pavement? Seriously, man, 750,000 is not so many that we can’t fix this situation with very little effort.
Admittedly, fixing it in the long run is the more difficult (and important) thing. But it doesn’t seem like too many people are working on this. Are you? I’d love to hear about it.