Director’s Desk: Working on the big picture

By Israel Bayer

It’s no secret that Street Roots and  fellow grassroots community organizations have stepped up their focus to organize for additional revenue steams for housing. We happen to believe that a housing levy — either this year or shortly after, is a must have for the community.

In a time when the dismal economy continues to lag on, and more people continue to fall into poverty and homelessness — if Portland and the region doesn’t think big, we will continue to face more and more people sleeping in doorways and under bridges.

Beyond being a humanitarian crisis, without adequate resources, the rise in homelessness leads to more and more compounded problems that are products of homelessness itself; violence, addiction, tension. Law enforcement, neighborhoods and businesses become frustrated and seek short-term approaches that often times rely less on solutions and more on moving people around. It’s a quagmire and one that has been playing out on the streets since the mid-90s in Portland. We have to get over the hump, one way or another.

We can all agree that we want people off the streets, and the people themselves want off the streets. The reasoning behind why we want people off the streets matters less than our ability to work toward the goal of getting people housed. A campaign for additional housing dollars in the region offers these diverse groups a chance to come together under one tent to work on solution-based approaches to ending homelessness.

We may continue to disagree about specific policies matters, but it should not hinder us from working together on the big picture. In the coming months, that bigger picture will reveal itself and we must move quickly to capitalize on the momentum to create more affordable housing in the region. After all, housing does equal opportunity.

Speaking of the big picture, at least the big picture in Street Roots mind, we have put together an online Street Roots Readers Survey. We would most appreciate it if you would take the time to fill out the survey. We are all Street Roots, vendors, writers and readers alike. Your opinion matters and we thank you for all your support.

One response to “Director’s Desk: Working on the big picture

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