Occupy Portland sends open letter to city officials in support of homeless

Occupy Portland has sent the following letter to city officials…

This open letter from the General Assembly of Occupy Portland affirms our solidarity with the homeless people in our city.  We ask that City ordinances currently used to criminalize homeless people be suspended until new solutions are found.  This request is in accordance with the official Bill of Rights for Children and Youth as adopted by Portland and Multnomah County:  “Shelter:  We have the inherent right to shelter.  The City of Portland and Multnomah County should continue their efforts to provide adequate shelter to those who need it.”

The number of unhoused people living on the streets of Portland has steadily increased over the past ten years in spite of good intentions to reduce homelessness to zero.  Instead, Portland city officials are now cracking down on the efforts of a nonprofit homeless organization, “Right to Dream Too” (R2DToo) to open their self-help site, a rest area for those forced to live outdoors (located next to the Chinatown gate on Burnside Street).  Their goals are modest and very basic: “The right to rest, the right to sleep, and the right to dream, too.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement is calling attention to the increasing inequality and economic injustice across the country.  One frequent grievance is the rise of evictions due to home foreclosures, a trend which has been exposed as caused by banks’ irresponsible manipulation of loans.  Many more Americans are now on the precarious edge of living one or two paychecks away from joining the homeless.  This is a state of economic emergency which calls out for extraordinary action by governments.

We encourage you to open dialogue with alternative solutions — such as the R2DToo rest area, which is legally leased on private property, and is run by experienced volunteers with support from the community. Such efforts in self-determination and bootstrap self-help cost the City nothing, as they are funded by charity and managed by the hard work of volunteer organizers.  Such projects are in the American vein of self-reliance and also strengthen community bonds.  We invite you to help such grassroots solutions.

Finally, The Bill of Rights for Children and Youth can be found prominently displayed on the reception desk of Mayor Adams’ office, and is also online at the County website.  It affirms what Occupy Portland also affirms: the inalienable right to survive, which requires shelter.  Families and individuals who cannot live indoors, for whatever reason, should not be swept out of sight and mind. They deserve the human dignity to be seen and to exist in our city.

Thank you for considering this appeal, and we welcome your response.

Occupy Portland, General Assembly

Street Roots is waiting to hear back from the Mayor’s office, and it’s also been rumored that a march will take place sometime this evening in solidarity with the homeless rest area on NW 4th and Burnside.

5 responses to “Occupy Portland sends open letter to city officials in support of homeless

  1. YES! This is Solidarity at its best.

  2. and in this way are movements made……we are nothing till we unite and everything when we do—-
    RIZE AND ROAR!!!!!

  3. Pingback: Occupy Portland visits Right to Dream Too | For those who can’t afford free speech

  4. This is so good to see. I am so fed up with Portland and Oregon’s homeless crisis. It has so much to do with that old ogre, zoning, and also mismanagement of the Housing Authority moneys and policies which all encourage the wastage of program money on a grand scale, and restrict housing occupancy far more than the federal HUD programs do. HAP Section 8 recipients cannot allow their adult homeless children or parents, to stay in their apartments. This is an unforgivable and intolerable policy which creates thousands of homeless on Portland’s streets I have no doubt. Everyone needs to go stay with mom and dad when their unemployment runs out, but oh no, not if mom and dad live in a HAP Section 8 voucher apartment…. their kids have to sleep on the streets, not on the couch.

  5. Pingback: Why Do They Keep Trying To Camp? « There Must Be Another Way…

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