Today we met again with a number of Congressional staff. We tromped from office to office and met some great people that seemed to really care about me and my friends working to overcome homelessness at Solutions for Change. I’ve told my story so many times, and everyone seems to be genuinely interested and I hope that it helps and makes a positive impact. One meeting we discussed how to reform the earned income tax credit, another we talked about rural homelessness and opioid addiction, and another we talked about the connection of substance abuse and homelessness.
We attended a briefing on family homelessness in the Capitol Visitor’s Center and sat with Congressional staff trying to get some insights into how to address it. I wished they would have just asked me. The briefing highlighted research on childhood development and how homelessness impacts kids. It surprised me that so much research produces more questions than answers. One presenter actually said that they see more homeless mothers that suffer from depression than substance abuse! How clue-less can you be?
The highlight of the day was meeting with the senior management at HUD. Chris and Paul laid out our case that one size truly doesn’t fit all and that homelessness is a symptom of deeper issues. I told my story to one of the top people at HUD and she really appreciated it. As we were leaving, we ran into none other than Secretary Carson. He was pleased to re-connect with Chris and recalled when he spoke at our gala two years ago. I have to admit, I was a bit start-struck meeting a former presidential candidate and the top guy in the nation dealing with homelessness.
After, we had one more meeting in the House of Representatives. As we left the Cannon House Office Building to head home, one of the staff we met with the day before grabbed Chris and told him how excited he was that his boss had decided to sign the member letter to HUD we had discussed. He wanted to know if there was anything else he could do for us. I guess people really do care and are willing to go to bat for us and the families at Solutions.
One last thought – Why do they need so much security at the department that provides housing? What are they trying to steal from HUD? Housing?