Did you know we have designated a day to memorialize homeless deaths? Can you imagine? In the wealthiest country in the world. This day of memoriam is also called the Solstice, Dec. 21, the longest night of the year.
Did you know that each year there is a memorial service in our city to commemorate all who died because they did not have housing? This year at the Homeless Person’s Memorial Service, as the names of the deceased were read off and tears were falling, all who have worked so hard to end homelessness were yet again faced with the same reality.
There is no room at the inn.
We have room for hotels and tourist needs, but we allow our homeless to die!
The National Coalition for the Homeless states [that] it’s time we employ actionable outrage. Exactly!
Have you ever been so cold you could not wait to get into your home or car? What if you were Rachel, who doesn’t have an option on the longest night of the year to even think about not being cold?
We so need actionable outrage. That means we no longer tolerate that homelessness even exists. That means that we are in a state of action that propels the lives of those living on the fringes to have options. That means that those of us who are warm need to remember how blessed we are. That means that we stand in the street or write our City Council or speak to our faith groups, and we say, “Help us to no longer keep this shame going.”
We need [a] mandatory housing inclusion act in each building that is permitted to build in Asheville. We need the hotel occupancy tax to take one penny and put it in the coffers of the affordable Housing Trust [Fund] so we can raise millions from just one penny from every tourist! We need our land trusts to open up their spaces to build multipurpose living spaces so that everyone is warm tonight!
This is solvable, but only if we no longer turn our eyes and hearts away. Actionable outrage.
Can you imagine a sign that says: You are always welcomed at this inn, and it truly means everyone?
All the hotels that have empty spaces could designate several rooms to house those who are not warm tonight. They could, they should. But will they?
Actionable outrage. It is for the good of all.
A line from a song that was sung at the memorial service poignantly states the obvious. “Let us hope by some good pleasure to safely arrive at home” is a song that no longer needs to be sung. For we all have the right to live in warmth and safety.
Housing is a human right.
Actionable outrage. Join the Beloved House Community Housing Campaign on Facebook and walk with us as we find the key to the inn.
— Ariel Harris