Amber Takes Capitol Hill – Monday, Day One

After a red-eye flight, Chris, Paul, and I found our selves in Washington, DC.  Frankly, I never thought that what went on with senators and congressmen was the business of regular people like me.  “Who am I,” I thought, “to have these powerful people listen to me?”  But there I was, in the office of Senator Tim Scott (SC), the Chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees homelessness programs, telling my story of homelessness, losing my children, and our terrible experience in a Housing First apartment.

We talked about how naive it seems to give away housing without addressing the root causes of homelessness.  It’s like going to a hospital, getting in a bed, but refusing the treatment to make you well.  And we talked about how the only thing standing in the way of programs like Solutions for Change from helping more homeless families and kids are HUD’s rules and regulations.

It was great to hear that our message of helping people overcome poverty through sobriety, work, and accountability was a welcome one.  I was a bit surprised that, generally, I know more about HUD’s homelessness policies than some of the aids we met with.  One office said that this is one of the few issues really worthy of the Congressman’s time and effort.  That made me feel special – that I can share my story and make
a difference.

Walking the halls of the Senate and House office buildings takes a lot out of you.  At the end of our first day, I crashed after having take-out for dinner.  But I’m looking forward to meeting with senior HUD officials tomorrow.