Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Establish emergency shelters for the nation’s homeless population during this uncommonly cold winter
As winter approaches, temperatures drop and people bundle up or stay indoors. During exceptionally bitter temperatures, people often choose to stay home where they’re safe and warm. But not everyone has the ability to seek comfort inside their home from the chilling cold – because not everyone has a home.
A rising homeless population is something that the United States has been trying to find a solution to for a long time. People disagree on the best way to help these struggling members of our society, since their needs are many and diverse. But during the winter months especially, the answer to this problem no longer hinges on political parties or principles; it becomes a matter of survival. Homeless people who sleep on the streets because they cannot get into shelters or do not feel safe in shelters are in immediate danger of freezing to death.
This issue is not the isolated problem of one city. That is why it is crucial that we ask President Barack Obama to step up to the plate and call for any city that experiences cold temperatures at night to immediately establish emergency shelters where homeless people can sleep indoors and out of the cold. These shelters do not have to be built anew, nor is there time for that. Preexisting structures need to be immediately reallocated to act as emergency shelters for homeless people.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Shelter is a fundamental human right. Yet for the millions of American that make up the homeless population, this right might seem elusive. Many homeless shelters have rules that govern who can stay at them, excluding certain types of people, or simply have a limited number of spaces available each night. These rules exist for the safety of the workers and the other people who use the shelter. They are understandable. But as temperatures across the United States drop to freezing, something needs to be done for the homeless population that is still sleeping on the streets.
This is not an issue that can be deliberated upon. Action must be taken immediately. There is no time to build more shelters. Rather, preexisting buildings need to be turned into temporary emergency shelters for the homeless. Some cities have begun to open the lobbies of public buildings and invite homeless people to stay inside these buildings, rather than let them continue to sleep on the streets.
Please issue a call to service for the men and women who lead America’s cities, especially in the colder regions of the country. Ask them to follow the example of these cities. Help facilitate the establishment of temporary emergency shelters for homeless people to escape the freezing cold and the fatally low temperatures that come with sleeping on the streets during the winter. This is an urgent matter and any delay could mean lives lost.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Andy Burgess via Flickr