Yes, a shelter could be established anywhere in the State of Oregon.
But the creation of that shelter will only cover part of the problem. Something more has to be done...yes, it does.
That is why I am suggesting a third piece to my idea: A "Homeless Person And Community Partnership Contract"...with benefits.
I have suggested this in the past. But that was when people in Portland were still blinded by the
"We'll End Homelessness In Ten Years" lie.
Well, it isn't 2004 anymore...and we are edging ever closer to 2014...and the bitter realization
that Mr. Sten didn't know what he was talking about.
Either that or Evan Sernoffsky is serving up a word salad and I'm blind.
The third component to my idea requires 100% involvement between every homeless person
(families included) and the City of Portland. And I want this to become a reality.
But this isn't just any contract. This binding agreement would involve a very precise assessment
of each homeless consumer's skills. Each person who eats at a soup kitchen, showers, accesses
medical or counseling (including for substance abuse), clothing, transportation and sleeps in the
City will be required to undergo the assessment.
Each person will then be entered into one City database. One. Specific. Database.
After the person is assessed, that person will be offered safe, decent, affordable and dignified
housing somewhere in a specific part of the State. (This is where Multnomah County will reach out to other counties in Oregon.) The housing that is offered will already be
inspected and "certified" (so that each potential resident will never go through what I did) but the
contractual partnership won't end there.
Each potential resident will be required to give something back to the community in which they
live in exchange for a very reduced rent. Yes, I am suggesting community service.
I don't know why this practice isn't more utilized across the Country. It is already in place in a
few States...I know this for a fact. And I don't see why it can't be established here in Oregon and
particularly in Portland.
There is a multitude of jobs (far beyond collecting cigarette butts in the park) that Portland needs
someone to do. It's as simple as that. And it is true that some people won't be able to accomplish what other people will. But everyone who can find a soup kitchen, ride a bus or a Max train and remembers where the cheapest cigarettes are sold...can do something for the City of Portland...besides bitch, pitch a tent or stand in yet another nowhere line.
In exchange for a set number of hours per week, each individual will receive a residence with a reduced
rent (no "waiting lists") and a monthly voucher for MAX/city bus tickets (or gas if the person actually owns a vehicle), groceries or clothing.
It's true that not every person will be able to follow through with this contract. But I bet quite a
few will. It will take time, intervention, guidance and yes, money.
But it's worth considering.
After ten years...and Evan Sernoffsky's recent reports...have YOU got a better idea?