Real Change is "reinventing homeless advocacy," and the work couldn't be more necessary.
Homelessness, at bottom, is about those who, in an age of globalization, have been left out of the economy: those who have poor educational backgrounds, limited job skills, ill health, felony offenses in their past, or other problems that limit their ability to compete for low-wage service sector jobs. The governmental safety net for the poor is, increasingly, reserved for those among the unemployed who are one day expected to return to work. The poorest of the poor are mostly abandoned outright.
The $1.8 billion in annual federal funding for homeless programs is a poor replacement for the $54 billion lost since HUD funding reached its peak in 1978. And people wonder why homelessness is growing.
Advocacy that plays by the rules set by the feds -- with its focus on preserving and expanding homeless programs that focus on individual dysfunction at the expense of systemic problems -- is a depoliticized divide-and-conquer strategy that offers the illusion of solving homelessness at the expense of building a movement for economic justice.
The only time poor people have ever made real gains is with a visible protest politics that makes common cause with others who face economic vulnerability. Policies that don't address America's ever-widening inequality are incapable of truly solving homelessness.
Growing homelessness amidst rising affluence is a moral atrocity that should be plainly visible to us all. Real Change's work to build a new protest politics that creates alliances across barriers of issue and class needs to grow, and we need your help.
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