Clinton on homelessness "nightmare": Nov 28 radio address text

Tom Boland (
Sun, 29 Nov 1998 18:05:21 -0400

Transcript of Presidential Radio Address to the Nation
U.S. Newswire
28 Nov [1998]

 Transcript of Presidential Radio Address to the Nation
 To: National Desk
 Contact: White House Press Office, 202-456-2100

   WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a transcript
of President Clinton's weekly radio address to the nation today:

                            TO THE NATION

     THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.  This Thanksgiving weekend we
gather in our homes with families and friends to share holiday meals
and memories, and to give thanks to God for our many blessings.  But
Thanksgiving is not only a day to give thanks -- it is also a time
when we renew our commitment to our deepest values and to the duty we
owe to one another.  Today, I want to talk about an important step
we're taking to help our neediest citizens.

     This year Americans have much to be grateful for: grateful that
our economy is the strongest in a generation, offering greater
opportunity than ever before for every American; grateful that our
communities are safer than they've been in 25 years, giving our
families the security they need to thrive; grateful that our air and
water are cleaner than they have been for decades, preserving the
environment for our children; and grateful that America continues to
shine as a beacon of peace, freedom and democracy all around the

     We're also grateful this Thanksgiving more Americans will spend
this holiday in homes of their own than at any time of our history.
But for millions of struggling senior citizens and people with
disabilities, the peace and security of a decent home is a distant
dream and the threat of homelessness an ever-present nightmare.

     Too many of these hard-pressed Americans are warehoused in
sterile nursing homes -- not because they need to be, but because
they can't afford to live anywhere else.  Too many are trapped in
substandard housing, where broken plumbing, inadequate heat and
hazardous hallways are a dangerous fact of life.  And too many spend
more than half of their very modest incomes on housing, often
sacrificing basic needs like food and medical care just to pay the

     On Thanksgiving Day in 1933, at the height of the Great
Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt entreated Americans to help
the needy, recalling "the steadfastness of those in every generation
who fought to hold clear the goal of mutual help, in a time of
prosperity as in a time of adversity." Today, at this moment of
unparalleled prosperity, we must do no less.

     Americans should never have to choose between putting a meal on
the table or putting a roof over their heads.  That's why I'm pleased
that this month we're awarding nearly $700 million in Housing and
Urban Development grants to make sure no one has to make that
impossible choice.  These grants will enable hundreds of nonprofit
organizations -- like the YMCA, Goodwill and the Salvation Army -- to
build more than 8,000 new apartments for struggling senior citizens
and people with disabilities, and to subsidize their rents.

     Today I'm also pleased to announce nearly $130 million for new
housing vouchers to help people with disabilities in over 200
communities afford housing in the neighborhood of their choice.
Together with our new housing grants these steps will help nearly
30,000 Americans -- and I thank HUD Secretary Cuomo for his tireless
efforts to ensure that our neediest citizens have access to safe,
affordable housing.

     Let me give you just one example of the difference a home can
make in the lives of Americans in need.  Six years ago, Helen
Williams lost her husband to cancer and was losing her home.  For
three years she struggled to maintain her dignity and her health as
she shuttled between friends' and families' houses -- afraid to
overstay her welcome, but more frightened by the threat of
homelessness.  Fortunately, Mrs. Williams learned about one of the
subsidized apartment buildings funded by HUD's housing program for
the elderly.

     Today, along with her dog, Mr. B, she's thriving there and
giving back to her community.  Just this week, at the age of 80,
she's been busy working with her church to deliver Thanksgiving
turkeys to families in need.  That's the kind of Thanksgiving story
we need to hear more of -- all of us bound together across the
generations in a cycle of mutual help, caring for one another, giving
back to one another, thanking God for our blessings.  With the steps
we take today we'll ensure the same spirit of Thanksgiving is alive
every day of the year.

     Hillary and I wish you and your loved ones a happy, health time
of Thanksgiving.  Thanks for listening.


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