Did you know “The Pursuit of Happyness” is based on a true story?
The 2006 film, starring Will Smith as homeless salesman Chris Gardner and Smith’s real-life son Jaden Smith as Gardner’s son Christopher Jr., is based on an autobiography of the same name written by Gardner, a Navy veteran and entrepreneur who became homeless while raising his young son as a single father.
The circumstances facing the nation’s out-of-work, unhoused veterans are very real to Gardner and he is committed to the cause of ending homelessness among veterans.
Gardner recently penned a Huffington Post blog, “Let’s Work Toward a Home for Every Veteran,” advocating that employers take a fresh look at hiring the many talented veterans who’ve fallen on hard times and to raise awareness of the need to end homelessness with well-paying jobs and affordable housing.
Veterans who are homeless may not have a home, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have diverse skills that could be put to use to meet the needs of an expanding job market. … Long before I achieved financial success and became the subject of a Hollywood film, I was a veteran, a single father and a working person who was homeless.
Gardner points out the critical connection between our veterans being gainfully employed and permanently housed. He asks everyone — employers, governments, nonprofits, the faith community and others — to do what they can to end homelessness among veterans.
In a 2014 survey, mayors in 25 cities reported that, on average, 18 percent of homeless adults were employed. This is in large part because it’s increasingly difficult for segments of the workforce to afford housing. According to a 2015 study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, veterans earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 would need to toil in a job (or multiple jobs) for 85 hours a week to be able to swing the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. That’s labor but no life. In fact, that same report could cite virtually no county in these great United States where someone working full time and earning the minimum wage could locate an affordable one-bedroom apartment. That’s a disgrace.
We couldn’t agree more! We must take care of our own.
Thank you, Chris, for your passionate words, your inspiring example and your service.