"Homelessness is not irreversible," the late actor said at the hearing. "With politics and moral commitment, a massive increase in affordable housing, and the types of social services that are envisioned in the act, homelessness can and should be eliminated."
The legendary Robin Williams is still quite renowned for many things. While his unparalleled contributions to the entertainment industry top the list, heartwarming stories about the late actor's empathy and kindness that emerge or resurface on the internet from time to time, leave us marveling at the human being behind the glitz and glam of Hollywood. One such Williams moment is now making the rounds of social media yet again, reminding us of the Dead Poets Society star's avid advocacy for homelessness. The C-SPAN clip—which is being called by many as "the most powerful two minutes you'll see today"—features the time Williams testified before the U.S. Senate in 1990 to address the issue.
"What we've been doing for the last four years is basically putting a band-aid on a very gaping wound. But this program has incredible possibilities to deal with basically keeping people in their homes. The problem cannot be denied anymore, we cannot be a kinder, blinder nation," the star testified before the senate. "I do believe this can work in an incredible way, from a grassroots level, that the money can get to that and prevent, truly prevent, homelessness, that's where it lies. You can't keep picking people up, you have to stop them from falling."
"That's what I hope, thank you. I thank all of you in a bipartisan way, I know it's a little scary having a comic in front of you, it's kind of like having a porcupine in a hemophiliac ward. I present just my simple soul and hope you do continue this in a bipartisan way," Williams added. According to HuffPost, the clip—which was recently shared by the Goodable Twitter account—is part of a two-hour hearing, where the Mrs. Doubtfire star urged Congress to support the Homelessness Prevention and Community Revitalization Act, which called for more affordable housing, among other measures.
During the height of America's homelessness crisis in the 90's — Robin Williams asked if he could testify before the Senate.— Goodable (@Goodable) April 13, 2021
Whoopi Goldberg was by his side.
It's the most powerful two minutes you'll see today... pic.twitter.com/y1yiTRQUfd
"Homelessness is not irreversible," the late actor said at the hearing. "With politics and moral commitment, a massive increase in affordable housing, and the types of social services that are envisioned in the act, homelessness can and should be eliminated." Pointing out that there were between 2 and 3 million homeless people in the United States at that time, and Williams argued with President Ronald Reagan's notion that people on the streets "make it their own choice for staying out there."
Thousands of netizens commented on the now-viral clip, including Whoopi Goldberg, who was by his side at the testimony. Responding to a Twitter user's question as to whether the actors ever donated any money to help the homeless, Goldberg wrote: "Yes we did Roxanne, we gave our money and our time. Billy Robin and I did exactly that for 10 years. Heart and Soul. The whole point was to have everyone give whatever they could and that's why we were in Washington that day, we wanted their help as well." As the 71-year-old mentions, she and Williams—together with Billy Crystal—helped raise over $80 million for Comic Relief, a nonprofit that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to help homeless people in need.
Zelda Williams, the later icon's daughter, also retweeted the clip, writing: "Folks wonder why I bring up charities like homeless shelters on his birthdays. This. He loved the homeless & hated homelessness, same way he loved our soldiers (of whom a tragic amount wind up homeless) but hated wars. This was 1990. It’s gotten worse. We have to do better. In case this takes off while I'm sleeping like some of these posts do, if you're a news agency that's gonna try to turn this into a clickbaity story, at least link to some related charities he loved, like @GLIDEsf or @wwp. Check on your local emergency food pantry. Please."