Where’s The Beef?

Posted: June 12, 2007 in Bureauacracy, Homelessness, Money, Politics

A friend of mine (who isn’t homeless) and I were talking yesterday evening about the post I published yesterday mornings.

During the conversation, the subject came up about how many homeless people there are throughout the United States. She was shocked to hear just how many homeless people there are in our country. As the conversation continued, I began to breakdown the numbers into specific groups she asked me where I was getting my statistics.  

She’s not the first person who has asked me about the statistical numbers I cite in many of my posts.

As far as I know, former Vice President Al Gore was the first person to use the phrase "Information Super Highway" in reference to the Internet.

Since you’re reading these words, you obviously have access to the Internet. And, as such, you are probably aware that the information that a person can access via the Internet is virtually unlimited.

All of the statistics that I use in my posts come from various government agencies, non-profit organizations and other sources that are readily available to anyone who takes the time to do a search using one of any number of search engines. All it really takes is a willingness to do it.

Long before I began this blog, I became interested in just how many homeless existed in our county – for a variety of reasons: one because I’m currently homeless; two, because there were so many homeless children at the homeless shelter; and three, because a friend of mine who was a veteran died in his sleep at the homeless shelter.

There were a number of minor reasons for my doing the research about homelessness, but the three I just mentioned were the impetus.

As I kept researching, I started going through online newspaper archives, searching for laws and ordinances that had been enacted regarding homelessness and things like that. In each instance I became more firmly convinced that homelessness was – and is – an ever growing problem in our country.

What caused me the most concern was to learn just how little is actually being done to reduce this problem within our nation. The most common "reason" cited was the lack of funding.

That this country is the most affluent nation on the face of the planet and cannot seem to find a way to allocate adequate funding to help alleviate homelessness seems to me a contradiction in terms.

In my own community, there seems to be an endless amount of building and growth going on. This takes money. And although the majority of residents in this community cannot afford to purchase a median priced home, yet new housing units seem to be sprouting up left and right.

And yet, if the average person cannot afford to buy a median priced home, how does this community expect any of the homeless to be able to get a foothold out of homelessness and back into the mainstream community?

Something seems a little bit screwy about that – at least in my mind it does.

I don’t really know what the overall answer to solving the problem of homelessness in our nation is, but I know what it is not: it is not creating walls and barriers that the homeless cannot get past.

At the end of each "Congressional Year" both the Senate and the House of Representatives engage in the passage of appropriation bills that end up spending what is known as "Pork Barrel Spending." Very little of that overall amount of taxpayers dollars actually will be allocated to help the homeless.

Perhaps if Congress spent less on "pork," our nation’s homeless wouldn’t have to ask: "Where’s The Beef?"

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