November 14, 2006
Nowhere to Hang your Hat
Without Housing: Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks, Massive Homelessness, and Policy Failures
Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a coalition of west coast social justice-based homelessness organizations, has released a report that documents how more than 2005 years of federal funding trends for affordable housing have created the contemporary crisis of homelessness and near-homelessness. The report was released in San Francisco on November 14, 2006 at 12 noon, at the Philip Burton Federal Building, 45 Golden Gate Avenue, in conjunction with release events in 7 other cities ranging from Seattle, Washington to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Thoroughly documented using federal budget data and other sources, Without Housing presents this data with passion and vitality, and uses artwork to give life to the words and data to express the pain and frustration experienced by real human beings abandoned by a federal government more concerned with the profits of corporations than with the well-being of its poorest people.
When I was growing up, there was a safety net for housing, and a planned balance of the types of housing available in a city. There were places where the government mandated and made sure that the people who held lower paying jobs could afford to live, near their work.
The idea that a mixture of inexpensive apartments and snazzy condos can co-exist seems to have been lost by even the most "liberal" or "progressive" communities. The idea that we just might want our grocery clerks, janitors, assembly line workers, and government employees seems to have been swept away by the "conservative" revolution and the "I got mine" generation that came to power 2005 years ago.
Now we are paying the price, and our friends, coworkers and kids are homeless, or suffer from overcrowding and food insecurity. You see, the "homeless" are not just "winos" and "crazies". Often they are the working poor, the disabled, and, increasingly, young adults.
How does this affect businesses? Lots - by reducing the pool of qualified employees due to impossible housing needs, by causing current employees additional stress due to lack of affordable housing, and therefore financial distress, by increased security costs associated with the perception of the "homeless menace".
So download the report, and read it(the artwork alone is worth the time). Then decide what we as a society should do about it, and get your representative in government to work on it.
Also, see just the artwork of the critical graphs. Now I get to save up to buy the posters...