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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 12, 2008 3:37 AM. The previous post in this blog was It ain't over. The next post in this blog is Ouch. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Yeah, right

Here's a good one: There are only 386 chronically homeless people in Portland.

Portland's 10-year plan to end homelessness recently won plaudits from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The number of Portlanders considered chronically homeless has dropped from 1,284 to 386 in the last two years, although advocates say the annual census of who's on the street can't count everyone.

Wow. That sounds like one of those statistics like "core inflation" and "unemployment": such a dubious measurement that it essentially means nothing.

Comments (11)

No source for that stat? Sloppy editing, O.

Meanwhile, four paragraphs down:

"On any given night, there are an estimated 1,400 homeless people in Portland."

So which is it?

The problem is this is just Portland's version of "Mission Accomplished". I know you support Charles Lewis, Jack but look at this quote, though I will give him the benefit of the doubt as it is a quote from him selected by the "O".

"My whole philosophy is that government should be there to protect and take care of the people with the least in society. The people with the most in society can take care of themselves," Charles Lewis said."

Government should be a way for people in a democracy to get together and fund basic services proportionally with their resources and benefits, that it does not make sense to fund individually. The problem comes when money as you have pointed out is siphoned off to feed egos, and cronies, and not basic and "good of the common" needs.

Government should be assuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to earn a living and assume a useful productive place in society, but not to take care of them. This is what programs like the CCC(civilian conservation corp) did and helped rebuild lives of homeless farmers and starving victims of the industrial bust.

From Recycling to giving invasive species in our natural areas a good fight, there is a lot of work that goes undone that would be good for our City.

I am old enough to remember a couple of wacked out old uncles from WWI, they had a place safe and taken care of in what was referred to as an "Old Soldiers Home" with medical care.

I am also old enough to have worked with CCC veterans and heard them talk about how that experience changed their life.

Warehousing people to take them off the street for a few months at a time doesn't accomplish much other than to make the statistics look good.

Boy, that brings me back to the Vera Katz days of local law enforcement. Remember those scintillant days of the late Nineties, when your house or car would get broken into, your bike stolen, or other items just disappeared, and the sole police response was to send you a form to fill out and send back? All so that Vera could claim that crime rates had dropped by 50 percent or more since she took over as mayor? (Naturally, this was also at the time when the Portland police didn't have the money or the manpower to go after the Russian car theft rings running through the city, but it had plenty of money to seine the Willamette for that alleged caiman in November 1997 or to put officers on TriMet trains because someone had heard a rumor that "street gangs" were going to hold up banks and then escape via train.)

I have to say that I love the idea, though: make all of your problems go away just by declaring that "we can't find these people." It's much like the MBAs who argue that unemployment doesn't exist because none of their frat brothers are unemployed and therefore nobody else can be, either. Was this survey run at three ayem on a Wednesday, or was it held in SoWhat by coming up to people in the restaurants and asking "So...are you homeless?"

Silly me but I suspect the more benefits cityhall hands out to homeless folks, the more homeless folks it attracts from other regions. Homelessness and poverty is just a real hard problem never really solved but one that seems to require a balance between help and tough love on a case by case basis.

Portland, the city that lies.

Sten was as succesful as Willie Brown.

Willie Brown ended San Francisco’s policy of punishing people for feeding the homeless. In 1998, Brown supported forcibly removing homeless people from Golden Gate Park and police crackdowns on the homeless for drunkenness, urinating, defecating, or sleeping on the sidewalk. Brown introduced job training programs and an $11 million drug treatment program. San Francisco, then the United State’s 13th largest city, had the nation's third largest homeless population at a peak of 16,000.
In November 1997, he requested nighttime helicopter searches in Golden Gate Park.

The Brown administration spent 100s of millions of dollars creating new shelters, supportive housing, and drug treatment centers to address homelessness, but these measures did not end San Francisco’s problem with homelessness.

The "O" today stated that security had found feces, semen and needles in the first floor public bathrooms at city hall.Is this part of the protest, will taxpayer financed permannet public housing be the answer for this behavior.

i wonder where the millions of Americans on mood-altering prescriptions (antidepressants, etc.) might live if they had no medication?

in other words, absent the soft protection of strong drugs, how many would actually be able to cope with postmodern, industrial society?

look to many of the mentally ill homeless (who can't afford such drugs) for a clue.

Is the Dignity Village approach still a viable avenue? It appears to be a success in the fact that provided an alternative to the intrusive presence this group embraces.
If the Homeless Liberation Front is seeking real soultions, maybe they need to talk to Adams, who's PDOT oversees DV.
When I was homeless 15 years ago, CCC's Shoreline Project was made available to me, conditionally. The conditions were that I remain clean&sober (agree to random testing), and participate in my own program of re-integration into society.
It was difficult for me, however, looking back, the hardest thing to overcome was my perspective. My victim mentality kept me in a spin cycle of entitlement and denial; I was never satisfied.
With the hand-up CCC gave me, I learned to be self-reliant.
Dignity Village appears to promote self- reliance. Many of the participants in the current "protest" claim that shelters are not for them. Is the Dignity Village model worth looking at again or is it a one time thing?

I took a tour of Good Sam's emergency services a year or so ago. During the conference afterward they told us that about seventy percent of their repeat, drop in clients were homeless people with chronic mental illness. Beds for these people were so scarce they were sometimes sending them as far away as Klamath Falls if a bed could be had. For the most part they were discharged and put back on the streets.

If the city wants to spend money on the homeless problem, it should work collaboratively with Mult Co to restore mental health services.

It has to do with how they define chronically homeless -- a numbers game.

The truth about homelessness is like the truth about welfare (AFDC). Most people who end up there are good working people hit by calamities that could happen to any of us which result in extreme poverty. And, they get themselves out relatively quickly. (Don't let it get around, because it will put Rush Limbaugh and his fellow devil spawn out of business.)

If you define those people out of the problem, you are left with a small subset of hard core types who create a huge burden on services like detox and jail revolving door, etc.

It is true that focusing intensive services and housing before sobering on those hard core types reaps lots of benefits and dollar savings. However, you still have a big transitional and very low income housing problem. You may have defined them out of your target population, but they still need a warm safe place to sleep!

One of the biggest shames we carry as Americans is that some of us are WORKING and still homeless.

One of the biggest shames we carry as Americans is that some of us are WORKING and still homeless.

i agree. and 60% of those getting public assistance hold down jobs. and most of those without health care (or poor health care) have jobs.


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