One day, about four years ago, I found myself at a housewarming party for a man named Bill, who I barely knew. Bill’s apartment was sparsely furnished, and the only things in his fridge were Pepsi, milk, and some Hershey’s syrup. He didn’t have enough seating for his guests, but he could offer shelter from the season’s first freeze – and his guests had brought pizza!
Just a few days before, Bill had been sleeping in a railroad tunnel, as he had for the last five years.
Bill’s struggles with mental illness lead him to homelessness when both of his caretakers passed away. With no stable source of income and no support network, he was, quite literally, left out in the cold.
For five years, the staff at the homeless day shelter where I was volunteering had been working with Bill to build his trust and find him a home. His open house may be the best party I’ve ever been to.
Bill is one of the reasons I became an advocate for people experiencing homelessness, and one of the reasons I firmly believe in the work of the Law Center. Because I am committed to seeing a day when stories like Bill’s won’t exist, I know we have to make some big changes in America. And at the Law Center, we’re daily working to change the laws in this country to bring us closer and closer to ending homelessness.
One such change is the Federal Plan to End Homelessness, due to Congress in May of this year. Right now, the government wants to know what you think we ought to do to end homelessness in America. I’m adding my two cents because I cannot imagine how hard the ground must feel each night in a railroad tunnel. No matter your reason, I hope you’ll add your ideas too.
-Whitney Gent, Development & Communications Manager
*Don’t wait! The forum closes on Monday!