Obama Mentions Homelessness Once in State of the Union

This Land Was Made for You and Me
Including the Housed and Un-housed

President ObamaPresident Obama used the word “homelessness” once in his State of the Union address last night, when he talked about partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues such as homelessness.

It is hard to believe in this cold weather and the President’s recent focus on the anniversary of the “War on Poverty” that “homelessness” only received one mention. And this year, the President and his administration certainly had plenty to mention about the great work being done across the country to end homelessness.

In May 2013, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported on the decrease in homelessness, including a 7% decrease in the Veteran homeless population, across the country between 2012 and 2013:

  • The nation’s homeless population decreased by 0.4%, or about 2,325 people.
  • The largest decreases were among individuals identified as chronically homeless (6.8%) and Veterans (7.2%). The size of the chronic homeless population decreased from 107,148 in 2011 to 99,894 in 2012. The size of the Veteran homeless population decreased from 67,495 in 2011 to 62,619 in 2012.
  • The national rate of homelessness was 20 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. The rate for Veterans was 29 homeless Veterans per 10,000 Veterans in the general population.

As many of us mourn the loss of the singer, Pete Seeger, let us all take a moment and remember that “this land was made for you and me” and that this includes those of us who have homes as well as our brothers and sisters who had no place to call home last night.

Woody Guthrie wrote,

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me …

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Click here for a transcript of the President’s full speech.

Click here for a video of Pete Seeger and New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen performing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”