Being given the brush off by two of my legislators certainly made it clear to me that they are not worried about the homeless population in terms of their ability to shape the next political election. It’s true, persons without a home are much less likely to register to vote, go door to door for candidates, donate to campaigns, and show up at the polls on election day. That’s why it’s important for those of us who DO engage in such political actions to speak out and be the best voice of homeless individuals that we can possibly be. Helping provide day to day services to people in need is something I take pride in. But remembering that shelter guests are a SYMPTOM of the problem, and not the problem itself, is critical. This trip to Springfield helped encourage me to look to legislators in helping ameliorate some of these struggles, as opposed to putting all of the responsibilities on non-profits and the individuals themselves, which I sometimes do. No matter how impressive this shelter is, and no matter how much good work it does, we can’t forget that the buck stops in capitol buildings.
--Katie McNamara, LPCS Volunteer Coordinator, Americorps*VISTA