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Posted at 7:11 PM ET, 10/ 4/2010

Poverty is everyone's problem

By editors

By Christopher Fay
Falls Church

Carol Morello and Dan Keating’s Sept. 29 front-page article, “D.C., region show disturbing rises in childhood poverty,” shed important light on the growing gap between the “have and have-nots” in our area. This discrepancy is further underscored by census data showing the Washington region to be the best-educated area in the nation.

I have worked on behalf of the homeless for 25 years, and people are always shocked to learn that the average age of a homeless person is only 9 years old. If we help provide the tools for these children and their parents to break the cycle of homelessness, we could decrease societal costs and increase the overall quality of our communities.

To build stability and self-sufficiency, we must offer the comprehensive tools many of us are fortunate enough to have at our fingertips: education, affordable housing, counseling, financial consulting and old-fashioned TLC.

Homelessness and poverty are societal issues that are often misperceived, and there is a lack of appropriate awareness of them. We all have a responsibility to address these concerns. Living in what is officially the smartest region in the country, D.C. area residents can lead the way.

The writer is executive director of Homestretch, which provides services and transitional housing for the homeless.

By editors  | October 4, 2010; 7:11 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic  
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You're right, Mr. Fay: "We all have a responsibility to address" the problems of poverty. This includes the poor themselves, does it not?

Folks who can't even read, much less feed themselves, simply have no business having children in 21st century, information age America.

Poverty could all but be eliminated in little more than a generation if poor people would simply refrain from procreation until they've managed to work their way out of poverty. And if they never make it out, they should never have children.

The empathy well and our wallets are nearly empty. And it's just a matter of time before voting taxpayers come to their senses and begin demanding public policies that aggressively discourage hapless have-nots from making more hapless have-nots.

Posted by: NorplantNow | October 5, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

People are aware, they simply don't care.

Posted by: jckdoors | October 5, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I can read, write, and speak perfect English.

At 19 I became homeless. I chose to leave my abusive home. Losing my mother by the silent killer, cancer, when I was 15 I had no other place to go than a shelter.

I grew up in a perfect family all my life in Northern Virginia. Destiny made the decision to tear apart my family.

Homestretch became my "parents" my support system to help me get on my feet.

I chose to break the domestic violence cycle by leaving. Now I am a better person serving society because of Homestretch.

How many people go through horrible experiences and need a little support to get back on their feet?

Homelessness is everyone's problem and Homestretch helps improve society by helping families become self sufficient instead of making a living off the system.

Instead of being hostile towards this issue, be grateful that homelessness hasn't affected your family.

I'm thankful Homestretch exist.

Maybe not everyone cares, but at least one person does.

Posted by: melisabel | October 5, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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