Our nation has spent trillions to bail out the weasels of Wall Street and the tycoons of global corporations, overlooking "shenanigans" that have caused worldwide economic havoc.
In the meantime, millions of housing-poor Americans have been swept to the streets. Former members of the American Dream club are cast from their homes while real estate vultures feast on the spoils. And, perhaps most tragically, at the bottom of the pile, families and individuals with no place to call home are buried in the rubble of a fallen economy.
HUD, the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, albeit inadequately funded, fails by even generous estimates to meet the needs of the most desperate--the families with nowhere to turn, whose credit and record of unpaid public and private housing debts are now deemed unworthy of help, or who, by bureaucratic standards, are deemed not absolutely homeless.
These families are often not in shelters, but precariously, and inhumanely, barely existing in dilapidated trailers or campers, storage units, tents, or bouncing from hither to yon between family, friends and acquaintances.
It is time to scoop them up from the vortex of destruction and give them a place to live. HUD needs to declare a moratorium on turning away families based on past non-violent history with HUD, and establish emergency procedures that prioritize housing and assisting these most endangered families (and individuals). Likewise, HUD must revise policies, based on degrees of housing peril, that act as barriers to assistance Those with safety-related issues, if verified by an independent and responsible independent agency, need to be housed where they can do no harm, and receive whatever help is needed to rectify things.
This isn't cheap. But we've found money to bail out the robber barons who continue their evil ways, so we must find ways to help these folks. Ask Goldman Sachs to fund it. Whatever it takes.
Secretary Shaun Donovan
- President of the United States
As you read this, countless families like Tina's are having the door of their last hope of housing assistance, HUD rapid rehousing dollars or other stimulus funds, slammed in their faces.
HUD regulations apparently prohibit helping those in arrears with HUD. HUD policies act as barriers to those not deemed homeless enough, an inaccurate and subjective assessment.
Tina's case is an example. In brief, this pregnant mother of 5 little boys under the age of 7 is staying in a 13' dilapidated camper, sometimes with utilities on and sometimes not. She has applied for HUD rapid rehousing money and public housing but has been told no because, in the words of a social worker who's trying to help her, "They (keepers of the HUD funds) told her HUD's number one rule is that the client has to be absolutely homeless, they cannot have any type of roof over their head. I tried explaining that the trailer is not appropriate for a pregnant mom with five kids but neither would budge."
Tina was also told that because she had a past due status with public housing, even if she paid it all now, she would be ineligible for public housing for at least 10 years. Where does a family like this end up? By the way, her city, Las Cruces, has no family shelter.
This is unacceptable and potentially tragically foolish, to say the least.
HUD needs to declare a moratorium on policies that keep families from being safely housed, NOW. Accommodations--debt forgiveness or bail-out funds, equal to those we've given those who have destroyed our nation's economy, must be made. Saying families "have to be absolutely homeless" invites disaster, one that we all will pay for in years to come. That policy needs to immediately change.
Please help Tina and countless families in similar straits.
And, will you please document the "turn-aways" so we can better grasp the scope of this under-reported problem?
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