To say 2020 has been a very stressful and challenging year is truly an understatement. For those who have been sick or lost a loved one, this Thanksgiving will be difficult. Many families are not together and may be celebrating this special holiday from afar either through telephone calls or video conference.
Despite everything that has occurred, the old hymn Count Your Blessings still applies, especially if you have a roof over your head and a warm bed to sleep in. During this holiday, there are millions of our fellow Americans that do not have a home to call their own and do not have a warm bed to sleep in. Through bad circumstances, generational poverty, mistakes, affordability, and mental illness challenges, they are left alone in this world with no place to call home.
It is at these times we are all reminded of how much having a home to call our own or a permanent place to reside means to us. Not only do four walls and a roof shelter us from the elements they provide security and the hope of a better day. Our society has lost sight that affordable housing is essential for everyone’s future.
This year, we have all discovered that essential workers in our society are critical to our survival as a nation. Is it too much to ask that the people we depend on have a decent, affordable place to live? Not every person can be a college graduate, a wealthy businessperson, or someone born into great wealth. Most of our citizens are hardworking people doing the best they can with the talents that have been gifted to them by God. That is okay, because their contributions to our society are just as important. What would we have done without the nurses, cashiers, truck drivers, and sanitation workers this year?
I truly hope that one of the big lessons learned from this awful pandemic in 2020 is that we can finally value the services of all essential workers and develop policies that will encourage clean and affordable workforce housing. Right now, there are people who served all of us nobly during the pandemic who cannot afford a home or apartment. Instead, they are living in substandard housing, cars, with friends, or with family. Their children do not know the security of having a bedroom of their own and live in constant fear of changing schools or being in embarrassing situations.
While some will say it is because people are not being paid enough, the current affordability crisis in housing is not only keeping the poor out of housing it is denying a huge number people who are working hard every week to make ends meet. The discussion must begin with reducing the price of housing by changing the type of housing allowed and putting the first rung of the housing ladder back in place. The cost of housing is the real issue.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, do not focus on the things that have changed or what you cannot do. Instead, remember those who are less fortunate that have nothing. Think about all the essential workers who have worked so hard this year under unimaginable stress who may be eating their Thanksgiving meal in a car.
In that wonderful all hymn, Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote these two lyrics:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Take a moment during this Thanksgiving holiday to be grateful for your home because there are millions of people who would give anything just to have a place to call their own.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.