The Homelessness Marathon
The 19th Annual Homelessness
Marathon will broadcast live on
Jan. 19th, 2017 from 7-11pm EST.
This year WMPG in Portland, Maine is the host radio station.
The Homelessness marathon is America's only national broadcast focusing on homelessness and poverty.
This statement was released shortly after Katrina struck and was signed by our entire staff at that time.
We are broadcasters who, for the past eight years, have been trying to draw attention to the problem of homelessness in America, and unlike a lot of people, we are not surprised by the slow governmental response to the Katrina catastrophe. In fact, during our February broadcast, we included a segment entitled "Hurricanes and Homelessness." Our voices have been part of the small chorus that has been warning for a long time that this day might come. And we issued our particular warning based not on meteorological or coastal conditions, but on what we know of the government's negligence towards those in need. Based on what we've learned, we would like to make the following observations:
- Thousands of poor black people were left to die in New Orleans. Instead of merely being warned to get out, they should have been offered help getting out. But the City of New Orleans locked down its busses and the Federal government did nothing. It was the lethal abandonment of poor black people that began the social breakdown, not the looting.
- If racism is the elephant in the room, the war against the poor is the Tyrannosaurus. Over the past thirty years, we have gone from being a country with surplus low-income housing units to a country with millions of units too few. The housing infrastructure just isn't there anymore to take in the Katrina refugees. It isn't there because America stopped investing in public housing. And America stopped investing in public housing because of a radical political agenda to invest, instead, in the bank accounts of the wealthy. The dead and desperate of the Gulf Coast bear witness to the folly of letting rich people run our country.
- The new homeless and the old homeless are the same. Part of the war on the poor has been the relentless demonization of homeless people as drunks and crazies. That was never an accurate image, but it's true that some people put themselves more in the way of homelessness by drinking just as some people put themselves more in the way of it by building beach houses in a hurricane zone. Either way, we are confronted with the same question: Do we wish to be the kind of society that lets people die in the streets -- as they are dying now -- or the kind where we help each other out, no matter what our foibles? We must choose to be a society that lends a hand, and to truly make that commitment, we must do away with the old divide-and-conquer distinctions between poor folks and "normal" people. AS WE HELP THE NEW HOMELESS WE MUST HELP THE OLD HOMELESS TOO.