Connecting the Dots

Photo of bright dots against a black backdrop

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

I put on my activist hat for this article. I wonder what everyone thinks of the threats to social services for low-income communities and the proposed slashing of funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income housing in D.C. (in addition to the already under-funded mental health and health care system for low income and homeless communities in D.C.)  

Last night Steve Thomas (“Better Believe Steve of S.T.R.I.V.E.”) and I spoke of the nightmare that intersects the homeless community, crosses into the mental health community, and over to homeowners and renters. For families who are barely making it and who teeter on homelessness, these proposed cuts in services will affect us the most.  

Many District residents have fallen for business as usual for years, making the wishes of politicians come true. We see our problems as separate and narrow problems (this affects this community and this affects that community). As long as we continue to think and act in this way, we are all just fighting for attention and will accomplish nothing.  

We are collectively blind. And being so makes the “fiscally conservative” (read non-caring politicians) in the federal government very happy. The funding eventually trickles down to the D.C. government for housing, mental health services, drug and substance abuse services, and services for the developmentally delayed, mentally retarded and other disabled people. 

Folks, D.C. is a federal city and that means our issues with funding begin with scissor hands at the federal level and then our mayor gleefully gets the chance to do his thing: hurt us all.  

Hat in hand, he goes on television with crocodile tears to say he has no choice but to hurt the already vulnerable again with cuts to social services.  

Will holding rallies alone stop this? Most likely not. Will just testifying at City Council change this? Probably not.  

Will rallying; testifying; talking with the national, international and alternative media combined with voting the most offensive of politicians out of office accomplish something? I am sure it will.  

Tried and true, one-off attempts will perhaps raise the consciousness of a few people. But what we are looking at right now is a crisis, and a crisis calls for thinking as well as acting outside the box.  

The definition of insanity is doing the same things in the same way and somehow hoping for a different outcome. 

I don’t know about you but I am tired of doing the same thing I did last week. It won’t work this week. So my question is: Why are we thinking of solutions which had possible success years ago when, now we have such a different set of circumstances?  

If this crisis is not approached differently, I can assure you that the homeless will be on the lawns of homeowners and I will be there serving breakfast. Beds will show up in the least likely of places. People who need medication will terrorize every neighborhood and go to the bathroom on your lawns. And as for crime: hey, don’t even get me started. 

Louise is an activist and proud mother, and she was homeless from 1991 to 1993. 

Issues |DC Budget|Social Services

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