Usually, when I have my computer on I also have the television on and tuned to one of the news channels. Last night while going through the blog’s e-mail I became so disgusted with all the political nonsense that was being spewed by the news media, I started channel surfing. As I did, I paused on one station because I recognized comedian Chris Rock. The storyline of the movie had him running for President.
As I watched for a few minutes, the scene had Chris Rock giving a speech in a hall of union supporters. He had turned off the teleprompter and begun to improvise his speech. One of the lines he kept repeating with each point was: "It ain’t right!"
That phrase stuck in my head and I began thinking about a lot of things that "It ain’t right" could be applied to. For example:
It ain’t right that there will be approximately 3.5 million people who will experience homelessness in the U.S. this year. What makes it worse is that, as a nation, we do have the capacity to actually remedy homelessness if we put our minds to it. Instead, we allow our elected leaders to play their political games – and all at the expense of the American public.
It ain’t right that there will be some 1.35 million children who will experience homelessness this year. Roughly half of those homeless children will be under the age of five. It bothers me that our nation’s lawmakers went through such grandiose motions of passing "No Child Left Behind" legislation, but somehow managed to forget about those children who call the streets of our nation’s cities home. That there is even one child who is homeless belies the entire premise of "No Child Left Behind" as far as I’m concerned.
It ain’t right that folks all across the nation are so proud to place magnetic "ribbons" on their vehicles proclaiming "Support Our Troops" and yet, there are some 400,000 Veterans who are homeless. A good percentage of these homeless Veterans suffered the effects of combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and yet are consigned to living the fringes of society – and all because as a society we have allowed ourselves to stubbornly cling to misconceptions and stereotypical views of what a homeless person is.
It ain’t right that nearly half of all women who find themselves homeless are so due to fleeing relationships filled with domestic violence. These women are prime targets as "sexual conquest" targets, not only by homeless men, but by many of the so called "fine upstanding" male members of the community, who consider these women to be persons of little or no moral character and, who out of desperation, are willing to sell their bodies for a few dollars.
It ain’t right that about 2 percent of America’s homeless are senior citizens. Most of them are living on fixed incomes. Many have chronic health conditions which require several different types of medications. And, as a result of the price of their Medicare co-pay deductible, are forced to choose between their medications and having a place to live because they cannot afford both.
It ain’t right that about 30 percent of America’s homeless have some type of mental health disorder. Many of them are unable to care for themselves. Yet, there is an extreme lack of the types of services to help them into supportive housing. As a result, there are those who, because of the lack of these services, experience a worsening of their condition.
It ain’t right that there is a noticeable lack of available shelter beds all across the nation which forcibly causes a high numbers of homeless to sleep out of doors – even in the most adverse of weather. In addition, despite the lack of available shelter beds, many municipalities engage in the practice of ticketing and fining the homeless for "urban camping." Some cities even destroy homeless encampments in an attempt to force the homeless to "move on" elsewhere.
It ain’t right that banks and other lending institutions were making loans available to folks for the purchase of real property – even when those folks could not realistically afford to repay those loans. As a result, default on those loans is at an all time high, with record numbers of foreclosures having taken place over the last year. Subsequently there has been a surge in the numbers of folks finding themselves homeless. Yet Congress, instead of holding those banks and lending institutions accountable for their questionable lending practices, has passed legislation to the tune of $700 billion to bail out those companies.
It ain’t right that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has mandated that cities create a 10 Year Plan To End Homelessness in order to continue receiving funding for local homeless support services, and in doing so have made the "guidelines" so narrow that only about 10 percent of America’s homeless will benefit from the "Chronic Homeless Initiative." The remaining 90 percent – which includes all homeless children – will not be eligible for assistance under these 10 year plans.
Most of all, it ain’t right, that we – the average person – can make a difference in helping to reduce the numbers of homeless simply by behaving in a compassionate manner and helping support the efforts of the homeless support services organizations in our respective communities. Yet, because we refuse to educate ourselves about homelessness and are seemingly unwilling to see past our stereotypical views of the homeless, we continue to think of our homeless as the "dregs of society" who are unworthy of our notice.
Nope. It ain’t right at all.