credit: Andrew Kudrin

People are literally dying on the streets of Washington D.C., our nation’s capital. Take a look around you, really take a look. It’s not getting any better, regardless of what the system says it’s doing.

The government seems to want to convince you that they are accomplishing their goals. But, if they don’t care about the humans on the street, then they don’t care about you either. And it’s only going to get worse if budget cuts are made to housing assistance or health care. You too will then begin to feel and see the effect of those cuts.

Some of the people you see struggling, ambling and shuffling are the walking dead. Each step they take they are laboring, with pain-stricken faces. To a certain degree, this seems to be by design. Chronic homelessness puts people at an average lifespan of 48, according to Healthcare for the Homeless. It’s a travesty to allow any human to live in this manner. Would you like to see one of your loved ones, not living, but existing in such a way?

Do you like for your intelligence to be played upon? That’s what’s happening if you allow pundits or officials to feed you any lines about “doing the best we can” or “meeting our goals.”

I’ll say it again: look up, look down, look across town and do not continue to allow the system to play you like a clown.

When the narrative says our community is improving, but we don’t feel that improvement on the street, it destroys self-esteem and ambition.

We really need those of you who actually care about homeless people to get involved. Stand up and speak out. For real changes to begin we must all show concern and compassion for the less fortunate and discontentment with the status quo.

Though it is said that one’s best advocate is one’s self, remember that the homeless community is a voiceless, forgotten and ignored society of people. So we need those of you not yet affected by this homeless epidemic.

Join me and the advocacy groups I’m involved with when we go to the Wilson Building and Capitol Hill. Keep abreast of the Street Sense website for upcoming community events.

If things stay the course, if our city continues to return millions of federal dollars we failed to invest in housing, if our president follows through in slashing the HUD budget — then you might find yourself not just affected, but infected, as you are catapulted into the ever increasing ranks of the homeless.

It’s not a fun or fair place to be, you would see.

Robert Williams is a vendor for Street Sense.