Friday, October 26, 2007

My Favorite Title

I hate coming up with catchy titles for things, but I have two all-time favorite titles. The first is the title of a Chinese novel about the Cultural Revolution called "Chaos and All That," and my second all-time favorite title is that a movie that was just released called "Gone Baby Gone." Both could be applied in their own unique way to the topic of this post which is one of my all-time favorite things to talk about: housing - or the lack of it here in our local community.

Multnomah County just released its list of Winter Services which includes its Winter Shelter. For the unintiated, Winter Shelter isn't so much a place you can go as it is a network of shelters that provide housing between November 1 and March 31. I know what you're thinking. If there shelters are already in place, why aren't they open year round? To which I reply, that is an excellent question.

The trouble is, the golden ticket you need to enter these fabulous winter havens is a minor child. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for sheltering children. Come to think of it, I'm for sheltering any sentient being in freezing temperatures, but my friends at Multnomah County take a different view. THERE IS NO WINTER SHELTER FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT CHILDREN. Sure, there is Jean's Place and the SAFES shelter at Salvation Army, but any woman will tell you both of those shelter have a waiting list of at least 30 people. A few of the shelters add additional beds during the winter, but there are still far too many people on the street without no place to go.

Are we going to make some noise about this?

7 comments:

Ledena said...

Uh, yeah. So let's pretend it's new year's eve in November. No winter shelter for homeless single women is not ok with me. Last year around this time I had applied for a job at the West and there was a woman there who was interviewing me and talking about how much lobbying she had to do in coalition with the city to get the winter shelter option for single women. I think her name was Beverly. Maybe we should talk to Fay about this...

Linda said...

aw JJR - i love your wit and wisdom on this topic.

i do think we should make some noise. i can see doing some of that letter writing and media work around this problem. what we would need to figure out is a consistent message that ties into why PWCL would be so pissed about this. rebecca and the board probably need to say okay to that message (since we are talking about the County here) and then we can hit the streets or the keyboards or the fax machines...

Linda said...

oh and can i borrow "chaos and all that' if you have it? i love novels about the chinese revolution.

Kelsey said...

I think this exact issue of lack of resources is the reason why so many of us get jaded about working on the crisis line. It's really hard to spend 8-12 hours a shift telling people no, especially when those people are in an unsafe home or on the streets.

I'm all for action of some sort. Give me a plan!

Jenny said...

Let's take a look at the services for Multnomah County, and then come up with some kind of statement or letter to the editor that we could send around. Maybe we could send it to several places like The Oregonian, The Portland Tribune, and maybe even Street Roots. Is this something we want to do as group one night over tea or should we do it over e-mail?

Ledena said...

over tea. I was thinking about this over the weekend. One thing that also bothers me is the "no active DV" rule for the homeless shelters. I think most of them, if not all of them say that. We don't let landlords or employers discriminate against dv survivors, so why are we letting homeless shelters do it?

Katie said...

Since I haven't actively been involved in the crisis line part of PWCL in a while I feel like I don't know all there is to know about this particular subject, but I am all about getting people out of unsafe situations.

Why does that "no DV" rule exist? What is the motivation?

Please let me know if there's going to be a Tea 'N Action night!