By Cynthia Mewborn
Where is the sense of urgency when it come to the homeless? It’s right here in these great words, that’s where!
On July 4, 1776 our nation declared in its Declaration of Independece, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Many years later, on August 26, 1963, Dr. King stood on steps of the Lincoln Memorial and proclaimed to the world, “I have a dream.”
Now nearly 50 years later we still face the same beast but just in a different outfit. Many Americans are limited by the demoralizing, deplorable, and derogating circumstance of homelessness. It is appalling for those who experience homelessness, but how shameful it looks for our great nation as a whole.
Where is the pursuit of “life,” when you live or die on the streets?
Where is the pursuit of “liberty”?
Where is the “pursuit of happiness”?
This great phrase is supposed to epitomize America’s values, but it simply does not apply to those who are homeless. Last month many homeless residents of DC held a memorial for the 45 homeless individuals who died in 2012; whether they died on the streets or in shelters. Their passing should teach us how fragile life is.
So often we see injustice and we say nothing. When we see that someone needs help, we keep on walking because it reminds us just how close we may be to becoming homeless ourselves. We do our best to afford them, but it does not go away. With more than 7,000 seniors, families, veterans and single men and women are homeless in Washington alone, there is a definite dilemma that needs to be addressed. Billions of dollars are spent each year for temporary services for the homeless, yet what is really needed is sustainable, permanent housing and jobs. We know that homelessness simply means not being able to pay one’s rent. Without these key fundamental requirements, homelessness will never end.
It is a problem when household pets and animals are treated better than human beings. The homeless who live on the streets won’t express their pain, but if you look into their faces you’ll be able to read every sorrow they have had to face. A sense of urgency comes only comes when you’re faced life on the streets yourself.
Are these individuals any different from you and me?
Over the recent months, I have come up with a very comprehensive and therapeutic program that would address these issues and provide the sustainable housing needed in ending homelessness. It would end homelessness not just in the nation’s capital, but around the world.
If we provide a temporary housing with no long-term sustainability for total recovery and self-sufficiency, then all we have done is put a band-aid on a problem that requires more extensive care. Homelessness is a moral issue that requires comprehensive approaches with the sole intent to end homelessness across the board for all. This program would provide permanent housing and jobs for all people who are homeless.
This program would provide comprehensive therapeutic services that would aid in healing the many of emotional, psychological, spiritual, mental, and physical scars homeless people have had to face for years.
Dr. King’s success wasn’t accomplished by himself, but with many individuals getting involved to end a grave injustice. Today we face an even graver injustice among the homeless population that will require just as much vigor, commitment, dedication, and determination to end homelessness. We all have a moral obligation to make sure that every human being is treated fairly and is given the opportunity for the pursuit life, liberty, and happiness. The homeless are not exempt from these inalienable rights which makes America so great.