Emergency help: Supply vs. demand Federal Way lettersFeb 09 2010
I have advocated for homeless children and their families in XXXXXXXX for 21 years.
Every day, I witness families desperate to keep their kids together and safe. Many times my staff and I can help with emergency services and temporary housing. But for too many children and their families, we must turn them away because we do not have room.
I looked back at how many children (MSC) in Federal Way had to turn away last year. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 9, 2009, 2,712 children and 1,887 of their adult family members were turned away from shelter. That totaled 1,331 families struggling to stay together. Often, families have to split up to be housed. Many shelters do not allow teenagers or adult male family members. These staggering numbers only include those who contacted MSC for shelter space. Currently at MSC, there is a three- to six-month wait list. Shelters in XXXX County operate at full capacity on most days. Waiting for space likely meant disrupted sleep patterns and irregular school attendance for these 2,712 children. Some slept many nights with inadequate heat.
Unsheltered family homelessness is the hidden sect of homelessness. They stay hidden for many reasons, including safety and not wanting the homeless label for their children or themselves.
Think of that number 2,712 — that is enough children to fill six schools with an enrollment of 400-450 students. All 2,712 children without a permanent home! Isn’t it our ethical and moral obligation to insist that our government, at every level, is aware of these numbers and make housing for these children and their families a priority?
Please join me in contacting your local representatives and senators at (800) 562-6000) to ask the question: “How are you supporting the end to homelessness?"
Perhaps we should ask the so-called TEA Partiers how they propose we provide such services. Yesterday in XXXXXXX the mantra of these new champions of anti-Americanism was "Cut, Cut, Cut". They do not want to provide for those in need; they want to provide for their wallets, their gas-sucking SUVs, their height-of-market high-rate McMansions. They bark at the poor and homeless to "get a job" in the midst of nearly 10% state unemployment when even the jobs once only wanted by teenagers looking for mall spending money are being snatched up by postponed-retirees and offshored pink-collar workers looking to make ends meet. They don't have answers, they don't even seem to have a concept of the real world, but what they do have is an inordinate amount of sway in our state and national government run by nervous incumbent politicians.Call your senator all you want -- s/he's getting 10 times as many calls by loud, inept armchair pundits with lots of free time telling him/her to cut, cut, cut, and cut. They don't care what. They wouldn't even know what TO cut -- or realize the consequences of what they would cut -- they just want our government to stop doing anything that costs any money. (Except blow people up in the name of Jesus, of course.)