Critically, building affordable housing units across the city will help create jobs right in the neighborhoods suffering the highest unemployment, helping address the yawning economic and racial divide opened up during the most recent recession.
What made it even more appalling than the subject matter itself -- rat bites in your sleep -- was the calm, conversational tones they used to exchange this information with each other, like comparing restaurants or the easiest places to find parking.
As two recent reports demonstrate, for many LGBT people -- specifically LGBT people of color and elders -- the quest for home routinely comes up against a housing supply that's dilapidated, stretched thin, too expensive and far removed from the cities and neighborhoods we deserve to inhabit.
Before I started working at Bethesda Cares, I had a mental image of what someone "homeless" looks like. Maybe you do, too: I pictured a disheveled old man with scraggly hair and a matted beard, wearing dirty mismatched clothes and probably pushing a shopping cart.
Young families, military families and low-income people who may not make six digits but have good credit are, for all practical purposes, blocked from owning a home by requirements for high credit scores and down-payments.
Monday's weather was cold, but I could not sense the dangerous "polar vortex" of sub-zero temperatures that newscasters kept warning would descend on the mid-Atlantic that very night. Not for the first time, I wondered about life on the street.
Living on the streets is a miserable, painful existence, fraught with physical and emotional difficulties. Maybe the holidays are the straw that breaks the camel's back. Or maybe they are just the burden of yet another straw.
For lots of different reasons, our clients generally are not currently in close contact with their families; if they were, they might not be sleeping on the streets. But they have families, of course, and they have memories of them.
Family homelessness is not a one-dimensional issue -- that not all families become homeless for the same reason.Without coming to grips with these realities, those in the Bloomberg administration were never able to get ahead of the issue.
This December 9th is the due date of a woman I will probably never meet. She lives in a tarpaulin-tent in some woods behind a convenience store, in a Maryland town a few miles north of where I sit right now. Few of our clients are expectant women, but it's not unheard of.
Whatever one's religion, the sheer noise of this season must scratch open those wounds. The outpouring of holiday offerings from kind-hearted souls are much-needed band-aids, but our clients have injuries that need stitches or surgery.