Friday, April 22, 2011
An invitation to our esteemed neighbors at the Capitol Building
There is a lot of talk this time of year about suffering, redemption, rebirth and liberation (and allergies, but that's neither here nor there). For the past couple of years there's also been a lot of talk about the need for "shared sacrifice" and "belt-tightening" and "getting back to basics." I think about all that talk, talk, talk a lot when I'm out running with the guys at Back On My Feet.
As part of the much anticipated federal budget deal, the nation's capital played a starring role as the proverbial sacrificial lamb; in the style of all good epic dramas we have offered up some of our flock for slaughter. $7 million in federal funds were cut from from a local program to help the chronically homeless. And the Easter Bunny isn't bringing the critical federal funding that came down as part of the stimulus anymore. As a result, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute estimates the Mayor's budget will shrink homeless spending by as much as 25% in 2012. And all this comes when the annual estimate of the number of homeless in DC shows the population up nearly 10% over the course of this economic downturn.
Maybe we should invite some of these lawmakers to come run with Back On My Feet one morning. Maybe they should see for themselves how people respond to friendship, hard work and, yes, financial support to begin to turn their lives around. Maybe they should hear how when given a chance to dream, people experiencing homelessness express hopes for themselves and their children just like everybody else. Maybe they should watch how B always dances around trying to keep his balance during quad stretches, or how A has built up to the point where he can pound out 3 miles like it's nothing. Maybe they should hear N's laugh, or learn from B how many hours he works busing dishes to keep his tenuous grip on his newly independent life. Surely men like these are worth investing in. Surely it's time to sponsor some new stories of suffering turning into salvation.
Hey, Lawmakers! Blair House is less than 1.5 miles from the Capitol Building. We'll even map you a route that avoids the hills (although as the guys will tell you, it's the hill work that makes you stronger).
If you want to help despite what the lawmakers say, please consider donating at: http://www.active.com/donate/4thAnnual20in24/AChrist292