American Life, Poverty and Homelessness: Homeless Man Serving America’s Top Politicians

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By Wadner Pierre

The Washington Post Catherine Rampell wrote an article picturing a 63-year-old African-American, Charles Gladden, who works at one of the nation’s most prestigious buildings, the Capitol Hill. He serves some of the country’s most powerful politicians, cleans their trash, but he is homeless and can barely afford necessary treatment for his illness.

Gladden has been spending his nights at the McPherson Square Metro Station located 2, 000 feet from the White House according to Rampell. Gladden admitted that he made mistakes in the past when he dropped out of college, and ended up in prison for breaking the law. “The reasons are complicated. He [Gladden] said he has made decisions he regrets — not least leaving George Washington University, where he’d been studying fine arts on a scholarship,” wrote Rampell.

Like millions of Americans, constantly questioning people they send to Washington to represent them, Gladden also questioned lawmakers’s knowledge on the state of poverty in America. For him, the answer is NO. “Our lawmakers, they don’t even realize what’s going on right beneath their feet,” he said. “They don’t have a clue,” he told Post reporter. Obviously, the lawmakers either know, but ignore this embarrassing fact, or they don’t. Because if they do know, what have they done to end it?

According to a 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Report “…in 2013, there were 610,042 people experiencing homelessness in the United States, including 394,698 people who were homeless in sheltered locations and 215,344 people who were living in unsheltered locations.”

The Hill reported that Pentagon spent $400 billion for its costly “fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.” Using the 2013 USHUD report on the state of homeless in the U.S., Think Progress states, “With the full amount spent on the F-35 at its disposal, the U.S. could afford to purchase every person on the streets a $664,000 home.” Thus,  the U.S. government can end the homelessness phenomena in America.

Gladden’s story is the story of thousands, perhaps millions of hard working Americans who work two jobs and still are unable to put food on the table, afford healthcare and save to send their children to college.

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One thought on “American Life, Poverty and Homelessness: Homeless Man Serving America’s Top Politicians

  1. This is a well written article. The writer delves makes commendable attempt at exploring the background of Mr. Gladwell which he links to the overall story on poverty. Although, he could also do more in addressing the main topic of poverty a little more.

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