You could pretty much fill up Madison Square Garden with the number of homeless children now reported to be living in New York City shelters.
According to an editorial out this week in the New York Times, the number of kids sleeping their nights away in the city’s public shelters now stands at 20,000. That’s up from last year’s estimates of 16,ooo juveniles with no roof of their own to live under.
That’s a staggering number when you consider it.
Especially when you consider the fact, as the Times piece points out, that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration have “…unwisely ended priority referrals for homeless families to public housing and for federal rent subsidies, which have very long waiting lists.”
In a year of big elections, with rhetoric regarding ‘what the American people really want’ bumbling out of every possible politico’s pie-hole and every media crevice from Anchorage to Key West, it seems almost impossible to imagine that certain realities, like children without homes, even exist.
So much talk has been strewn about the landscape regarding ‘balancing the budget and ‘lowering taxes’ that it has now seemingly become a simple calling card for tons of people who don’t even seem to know what the hell that entails or what it would really mean for the future of our country were it ever to be accomplished.
The actual words have lost all of their true luster; they are now just another neon sign attracting certain moths to the glow.
But something like this, something as flagrant and shocking as thousands and thousands of American children living on the streets of our grandest city should probably be the kind of thing that we are paying a little more attention to in between episodes of Honey Boo-Boo, you know?
Spending cuts and slashing away at vital social programs might be flags that lots and lots of uninformed, or God forbid, unconcerned, politicians and voters love to rally around in these tempestuous days, but a stark reality remains.
We are still a nation with the means to take care of our own, to help people,to aid families, when they are down and out.
We are still capable of ensuring that children do have that shot at a better life.
We are equipped to deal with poverty-stricken youth.
We could do it a thousand times over, if we really wanted to.
But all of this truth is swiftly suffocating beneath the heft of the fact that more and more of us don’t seem to want to be bothered with helping each other out anymore. At all.
And no matter how you try and cut it up, no matter which direction you try and spin it, that is un-American.
Info source: The New York Times
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