Looking Through A Child’s Eyes

Posted: May 7, 2009 in Bureauacracy, Children, Family, Government, Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Housing, Politics

Imagine that you’re a 9-year old child.

Your parents have been busy packing up all of the items in your home. Everything in your bedroom has also been boxed and readied for moving.

Your first thought would probably be that your family was going to be moving into another home.  

You might have mixed thoughts about moving. After all, it might mean that you would have to change schools. You’d be leaving behind the friends you’ve come to know. But, then again, you figure that you’ll be making new friends at your new location.

Then comes moving day.

You discover that you can’t take your bed to your new home. In fact, it seems that the majority of what you own isn’t going with you either. It’s being placed into storage; being left behind; given away – or perhaps even thrown out.

After you and your parents drive away from the home you’ve known, you realize that you’re not moving into a home of your own. You and your parents are going to be staying with Grandma and Grandpa – or some other relative’s home – for a while.

All three of you will have to sleep in the same room. Or it may turn out that you have to sleep on the sofa while your parents sleep on the living room floor.

Perhaps after a few months, with everyone being crowded, your parents tell you that you’re going to be moving again. This time, however, your find yourself at a place with lots of other people – all of them strangers.

It’s called a homeless shelter.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

If the above scenario seems a bit far-fetched, or like something out of a novel – think again.

Real world situations like this are playing themselves out daily all across the nation.

One such "story" was in the news yesterday.

The KATU.com article, Little girl’s world suddenly changes when family becomes homeless, outlines the struggle of 9-year Brehanna Ledesma coming to grips with her family’s eviction from their home this past December.

As I read the article, I noticed a strange irony: Brehanna’s father, Joe, has been a home builder for 20 years. Now, he and his family are without the very thing he has been building for others.

The increasing loss of job opportunities, the lack of affordable housing units, and an absence of government funded programs to assist them; the Ledesma’s have become casualties.

Brehanna’s mother, Heidi, said,

"I never thought this would happen to us. Not in a million years."

The most poignant part of the article where these few paragraphs regarding Brehanna:

She remains in many ways a fourth-grader like any other. She sports Hannah Montana sneakers, swings on monkey bars and ties her long, brown hair in ponytails. She boasts she can read as well as an average sixth-grader.

But she has lost some of her innocence. She understands her circumstances, and she can speak frankly in her soft voice about how her family gets by.

"We are having a hard time paying rent," she tells her reading teacher Mary Weller. She yawned and coughed, battling the second cold she has caught in less than a month at the shelter.

"But if you want to pay rent and you need to get money you can donate blood," she says. "My dad does that."

And, while millions of American children continue to experience homelessness, our nations’ elected leaders have been busy attending to such non-sensical legislation as:

  • H.R. 269: Supporting the goals of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
  • H.R. 396: Honoring the graduating Class of 2009 at the University of California, Merced.
  • H.R. 1271: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the "Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building."
  • H.R. 1397: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the "Caroline O’Day Post Office Building."
  • H.R. 774: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the "Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building."
  • H.R. 2248: To establish a grant program to assist States in inspecting hotel rooms for bed bugs, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 2258: To adjust the immigration status of certain Liberian nationals who were provided refuge in the United States.
  • S. 971: A bill to implement a pilot program to establish truck parking facilities.

Call me an altruist – but it seems to me that instead of Congress wasting taxpayer dollars debating the naming of Postal buildings or fretting about where trucks are going to park, they should be more concerned with helping families like Brehanna’s find permanent housing.

Maybe, Congress should enact legislation that requires them to volunteer one day a week at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens as part of their elected duties.

Perhaps then, they’d get a first hand look at the reality of homelessness across our nation.

And just maybe, as a result, they’d recognize that they need get off their political butts and do what is necessary to help "bailout" America’s homeless.

  1. Morgan says:

    This is so sad to read about.

  2. cara says:

    That is sad. We need to work together and find ways to help people like this.

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