I am looking through a crystal ball, the same one that Elphaba, the so called wicked witch of Oz, peers into in order to track poor Dorothy. It allows me to see beyond the places of today, even though the future is sometimes fuzzy.
Do I see the Apple iPad 2 floating across wispy clouds? A world dominated by Face Book?
No. The glass becomes clearer, allowing me to see the events of 2011. I see a changed America that is seriously ending homelessness, the shameful human scourge of this so-called first world country.
1) I see No Child Left Behind, that infamous $50 billion federal initiative to raise the educational level of every American child, being changed into a housing enterprise. Added to this educational program is a guarantee that every child and youth in America has a home. It makes sense. No child will be adequately motivated to learn if home is a beat-up car hidden in an alley.
Homeless families, including their children, are a fast growing population within America. More than a quarter of a million family members experience homelessness each night.
2) I see America pulling its soldiers out from this world’s hostile places. I see no more war. More than 1.5 million of America’s veterans are at risk of being homeless. A peaceful world, with no chance of traumatic life-changing experiences that violence of war instills, means no additional veterans sleeping on our streets.
John Lennon imagined such a prediction when he wrote “Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace.”
3) I rub that fabled crystal ball to sharpen my view into the future. I see in 2011 the federal government setting up a trillion dollar housing fund, similar to the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008. But rather than protecting banks from losing billions in bad housing loans, this housing fund would provide billions in developing enough affordable housing for every homeless American who call the streets their home.
Everyone knows that housing is the key to eliminating homelessness. Sure, people need to address their personal barriers—mental health, abuse of substances, unemployment, domestic violence, etc.—but without housing that is affordable they still may not be able to get off the streets.
4) I see communities and neighborhoods in 2011 opening up their welcoming arms of hospitality allowing housing developments to be built on their streets. The harsh feelings of NIMBY (Not in my backyard) go away like an outdated Blockbuster video store.
Instead, YIMBY (Yes in my backyard) prevails. Communities begin to see that putting people into permanent housing is far better than allowing people to sleep on their streets.
5) Finally, my crystal ball reveals a country embracing a movement to permanently house the most vulnerable homeless people who, if not housed, could die on the streets. I see in 2011 the nearly 250 American cities who adopted a “Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness” also join the efforts of 100K Homes Campaign to house their most hurting homeless people on their streets.
With 250 communities across our amazing country each scouring their streets for homeless persons exposed to the harsh realities of homelessness, America will house 100,000 within a year.
My glass of my crystal ball of Oz is starting to get murky. It’s hard to see with all of those dark clouds sweeping across the sky.
I see little Dorothy with her shiny red-ruby shoes clicking together, saying over and over again, “There is no place like home. There is no place like home.”
I wonder if her dream of going home is a prediction for 2011, or just a figment of my imagination?
Only time will tell.