Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Get Up, Stand Up

I've been really remiss about getting posts out, which is really bad considering there's stuff actually going on.

"Does my government really believe that the law can create a family? Do these old fat-ass men really believe that if they just pay people to act like Leave It to Beaver everything will be fine?" - Amy Gardner

I just wrote a letter to the The Honorable Chris Van Hollen(D-MD) in regards to an amendment to HR1461 that would eliminate funding for affordable housing to non-profit organizations that engage in ANY kind of advocacy. Here is the letter in its entirety(excepting my name and address):

To the Honorable Chris Van Hollen:

I am writing in response to a proposed anti-advocacy provision in HR1461, the Housing Finance Reform Act currently on the house floor. I urge you to oppose this provision.

I, like many other Maryland residents, rent from non-profit organizations that buy affordable housing. Because of physical and/or psychiatric disabilites, most of us are unable to afford housing from any other source. HUD Section 8 funding cuts have made these other housing sources even more important to the residents of this district.

We need to be able to advocate for ourselves. Many of these organizations provide services other than housing, and part of our empowerment and independence comes from the advocacy skills we learn through said organizations. These programs teach us how to vote, how to stay informed regarding the issues that affect us as disabled citizens, and, yes, how to contact our representatives and senators so that we can voice our concerns to the men and women for whom we vote. Simply put, we need to be given a voice, and advocacy help we get from non-profit organizations is usually all we have.

Your voting and response record has been exemplary in regards to the issues facing Maryland's disabled citizens. I thank you for your help in many of these matters, and once again, I urge you to oppose any amendment or provision in HR1461 that would reduce or eliminate funding for affordable housing on the basis of advocacy help to clients.

Thank you for your attention in this matter,

If this amendment were to go through, this would screw St. Luke's so badly. As I said in the letter, we need to learn how to advocate for ourselves. A few of us at St. Luke's participate in advocacy and are helped by a supervisor at the agency. This advocacy is non-partisan and empowering. Some would argue that we lean toward the left, but that is because the right doesn't care about us. If the right wing had their way many of us would be institutionalized for many, many years. Ironically, this is so much more expensive than funding programs that promote independent living. Most of these decisions made by the right wing in this country are pound foolish and not even penny wise. It ends up costing more money, not less.

You don't need to live in Maryland to write in opposition to this. This is a federal issue, and is probably even more sensitive in other states. If you have the time and inclination, I urge you to write your own representative. You can find out how on The US House of Representatives Website.

If it seems like I have neglected this blog, don't worry, I've neglected everything. I'm getting over a downwards swing. I haven't made any hats, either.

Anyway, that's enough to digest for now.... take care.


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