Letter to Leaders on Housing Cuts By FRANCES HAILMAN Commentary

Tuesday January 04, 2005

An economic tsunami is rapidly approaching this land. Those of you in the national congress, as well as state and local leaders, who are going along with HUD housing cutbacks, as well as myriad other Bush & Co inequities, are contributing to the ever-mou nting waves headed our way. 

Do you imagine you will be untouched by what you are allowing to be set in motion? You will inevitably be touched by it. Every one of us will suffer, some of us sooner, some of us later. 

Those of us at present directly in the path of this economic tsunami are already a widely diverse group: children without healthcare, students, the disabled, the aged, the sick, the economically disadvantaged, workers displaced by outsourced jobs, retirees with failing pensions, Enron-type workers battered by corporate greed, illegal immigrants used and abused and then set aside with no social rights or privileges, and perhaps most disturbing 

of all, physically and mentally maimed veterans of our monstrous illegal war. 

I am one of this ever-growing group. I am a Caucasian female with a privileged education at Smith College, University of Geneva, University of California (BA, MA) and Summit University (Ph.D.). I am barely subsisting now on a Social Security pension of under $800. Without my r ecently granted HUD housing voucher, I would be homeless. My housing voucher is now imminently threatened by the country’s turbid inaction in the face of these pending disasters. Will I be next on the homeless list? 

Perhaps. I will be poor, ill, aging, h omeless, and angry as hell!  

The people will rise up, sooner or later, ourselves a tsunami-like torrent of water. 

What are you doing about it, our leaders, today? What are you deliberately ignoring? What shame and guilt are you sitting on? 

You, whom w e elected to serve us, all of the people of this once great country! You, many of whom have granted yourselves such generous health insurance plans and retirement policies, not to mention the hidden corporate perks! You who are hired to be the servants of the people! 

Where is your leadership? Where are we when we need you? 

It would appear that among our most notable advocates today are our Black American leaders, such as Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Carol Moseley Braun, John Conyers, and other membe r of the Black Caucus. Thanks to them for their good work. 

Bush and Co are now determined to undermine the HUD housing assistance programs for hundreds of thousands of us. Where do you suppose we will go when this tsunami hits us and we are suddenly with out homes, thousands of us across this once great land? And for those able to hold onto a home, what about the ever increasing suffering of broken health coverage, broken retirement and disability benefits, broken childcare and educational programs, broke n promises galore! 

What are you doing today to ward off, or at least prepare for this pending catastrophe? 

There’s a new kind of Great Depression descending upon this land. The robber barons are skimming off huge portions of our common wealth in the dec onstruction of public assistance policies. They are squandering billions of our common wealth in futile and ill-conceived land and star wars. They have utterly devastated our global goodwill. And to top it off, they are placing the burden of the great deb t they are creating on the backs on the common people. 

The common people. That’s you and me, sister. That’s you and me, brother. It’s no longer “them” (and truly never was). It’s us! The greedy elite are trying their best to hide out in their psychologic ally-gated estates, imagining they have tricked the system and secured their fate. 

What they are securing is the downfall of this once great nation. 

When the ranks of the homeless expand exponentially to include all colors, all races, all ages—what will this country do then? 

What are you doing now, our elected leaders? 

Use your power now, before elections become extinct. 

Wake up and lead before it’s too late…