Homeless: The Grate Society

The Grate Society

The temperature in the capital dipped into the blustery 30s, but participants in "The Grate American Sleep-Out" were undaunted. A dozen members of Congress (including Joe Kennedy), three actors (including Martin Sheen) and Washington Mayor Marion Barry spent the night on a grate near the Library of Congress last week to illustrate the plight of the country's estimated 2 million homeless.

"We're not being pretentious," said Texas Democrat Mickey Leland, who wore a stocking cap and several shirts. "We have to keep the issue before the public." That he did: a dozen television cameras were on hand.

The next day the...