By Paul Boden, Contributing Writer
The Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) and the USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI) are calling on our members and allies throughout the United States and Canada to join us on April 1 for a bi-national day of action against the ongoing criminalization of poor and homeless people in our communities. Stay tuned for information on Portland’s action led by Sisters Of The Road, Right 2 Survive, and Street Roots.
We are building a movement to reclaim our communities for all members, not just those who set the rents. In order to build this movement and assert our human rights, we must make clear the myriad ways in which our community members are treated as though they are less than human. We must connect the dots.
Over the past 30 years, neo-liberal policy-makers have substituted private gain for public good; they have abandoned economic and social policies that supported housing, education, healthcare, labor, and immigration programs. WRAP and USACAI are at work identifying and tracking such policy, legal, and funding trends in order to publicize their spread and their effects. This is not a matter of theoretical analysis, this is an investigation of the policies and tools by which more and more people have been made to suffer. Continue reading →
The Right 2 Dream Too overnight sleeping area on Fourth Avenue and Burnside deserves to be taken seriously. Specifically, city officials, nonprofits and institutions that champion housing should practice what they preach and find a way to work with the group of 50-plus people on the streets doing everything in their power to help themselves.
Each night, more than 1,700 individuals sleep in the cold on Portland’s streets. In response, Housing Commissioner Nick Fish led an effort along with local churches and the county to offer car camping and overnight sleeping to a small group of people in church parking lots. City Hall and the faith-based community should be commended for their efforts. Looking outside the box for short-term solutions while individuals and families wait to secure housing is a positive step in the evolution of working with thousands of people on the skids. Continue reading →
Folks with Right 2 Dream Too at their "membership site" at NW Fourth and Burnside.
A group of homeless people who have set up a new residential community say they are trying to establish a safe and stable place for people experiencing homelessness in Portland.
Just don’t call it a “camp.”
“We checked the coding, we checked the zoning, we checked everything, and now they want to call it a camp. This is not a camp,” says Ibrahim Mubarak, one of the leaders of the small group and one of the founders of Dignity Village. “We’re not going to build, we’re just going to have stable structure things that people can sleep under and be safe and dry under by no structures that are permanent.”
The group – calling itself Right 2 Dream Too — is an offshoot of the Right 2 Survive organization. Right 2 Survive is composed of homeless and housed people advocating for civil and human rights for people on the street. They’re calling the site at Fourth and Burnside a “membership space,” with the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of safe and secure place for undisturbed sleep.
“We’re out here because there is no place for people who have no place to sleep to sleep. So we want to bring in a good place where they can come and rest,” says Ibrahim. Continue reading →
Ibrahim Mubarak in front of the new homeless "occupation" at Fourth and Burnside.
With all the focus on the Occupy Portland event downtown, a second encampment has emerged, this one by people experiencing homelessness taking over a corner at NW Fourth Avenue and Burnside. The squat, on a vacant plot of land, is being organized through Right 2 Survive, a grassroots movement of people in homelessness and is being called “Right to Dream Too,” or R2D2. The encampment’s spokesperson is Ibrahim Mubarak (pictured above), a longtime advocate on homeless issues and one of the spearheads behind Dignity Village. There’s more to come, but here is an excerpt of the initial statement from the group: Continue reading →
Regular Street Roots columnist and Right 2 Survive member Julie McCurdy (she also has a poem and column in the current edition) wanted to invite readers out tomorrow to the Festival of Resistance, a celebration and preparation to take back the rights of people experiencing homelessness. The event will follow the May Day event tomorrow afternoon— which Street Roots is a sponsor of.