Ever so briefly so that I can put on my “Concerned Citizen” hat and lobby for something I believe in.

There is a piece of legislation at the House of Representatives right now that pertains directly to my work and my passion for serving the homeless. This is not a liberal/conservative issue when one considers the bulk of homeless persons are children who have no control over their family circumstances, half of all homeless adults are working, while others have significant disabilities to work, etc, etc.. This is about what America is going to do with our own “… tired, [y]our poor, [y]our huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” (You know, the poem on Ellis Island)

That said, please read the e-mail I wrote below and consider writing your own state’s representatives:

Some of you have been wondering what you can do to make a difference in the homelessness arena, so I just thought I would take the time to share some information about HR 840: The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2007 which was introduced to the House in February.

I have attached a summary of what the act proposes to do, taken from the National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness (NPACH) website.

One of the most significant factors of the bill is the call for a more universal federal definition of homelessness, particularly for HUD regulated housing. Currently, there are 3 different federally accepted definitions of homelessness, with HUD’s being the most stringent. This means that oftentimes a school might identify a family as homeless by the Dept. of Ed.’s definition, but then when the family seeks housing that is regulated by HUD, they do not meet that definition of homeless. Or, even in the case of a single person, if s/he is “couch hopping” but has no permanent place to stay, they are currently not “homeless” by HUD definition…So they are unable to secure housing, in the midst of other difficulties, and the cycle continues.

This act is currently seeking more co-sponsors from the House as well as organizational endorsements. A list of current cosponsors can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR00840:@@@P

Notice there are none of Colorado’s U.S. Representatives listed. For a listing of Colorado’s your state’s U.S. Representatives, and how to contact them, please visit: http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/index.html, and choose by state.

Ok, back to the City employee hat…Dang, my hair is all messed up now!