I’m sure it was the warm sunny weather or a pre-April Fool’s Day idea of a joke but a tweet on Twitter caught my attention yesterday. “Today would be a great day to be homeless."
I’m sure it was the warm sunny weather or a pre-April Fool’s Day idea of a joke but a tweet on Twitter caught my attention yesterday. Actually it wasn’t from someone I know or follow – it was in the parlance of Twitter a “retweet” or a post that someone reposts. Nonetheless it read: “Today would be a great day to be homeless.”
It was retweeted by more than one person so I can only assume it was found to be humorous. Now for those who know me even slightly know that I have a good sense of humor and I can say that unabashedly. I find humor in many things and situations. I find that many times humor helps to soften the harshness of a message, break the ice in a tense situation and may allow people to just simply laugh.
However, I find no humor in this tweet whatsoever. Even with the sun shining and warm temperatures thawing our winter weary souls, there is never a great day to be homeless.
The Foundation has for many years been steeped in efforts addressing the problems surrounding homelessness, affordable housing and all things relating to providing needed services to those most in need. Laurie Craft, a program director at the Foundation, is currently chairing the Coalition to End Homelessness which is led by Janay Brower who is steadfast in her “vision” to create the community conditions to eliminate or at least reduce the incidence of homelessness.
Now I have to confess that when the Vision to End Homelessness was initiated many years ago, the predecessor effort to the Coalition, I thought that ending homelessness was a pipe dream rather like “alleviating poverty” as the issue is so very complex. The GRCF staff boldly ignored my nay saying and become quite involved in this and we funded much of the planning that went into the Vision which has now morphed into the Coalition.
I’m pleased to say that the GRCF staff were right and I was just plain wrong. They were exercising excellent community leadership skills! Janay will be announcing some impressive statistics soon. Suffice it to say the Coalition along with the timely infusion of funding through the Essential Needs Task Force Fund created by a group of 17 foundations last year has made some significant inroads in addressing the complex issue of homelessness.
As an example in calendar year 2009, 5,118 persons experienced homelessness in Kent County. This represents a 15% decrease from the 6,022 persons reported in 2008. Not a trend quite yet but frankly I’ll take it! And there is much more strong impact news on the horizon.
My message is simply this – regardless of the weather, there is never a good day to be homeless.
Diana Sieger, Grand Rapids Community Foundation