As a housed resident and taxpayer of Multnomah County, I would like to stand up and be counted as one who supports the homeless. It is not enough to eventually provide enough housing. It is not enough to make plans to get enough shelter. Right now, the citizens who happen to be without four walls and a roof are being abused by officials from various agencies.
I would like Multnomah County to be the first county in the United States to declare that we will not be party to the abuse of our homeless citizens. We will not tell them to move unless we give them a place to go. We will not verbally abuse our homeless, and openly reprimand our officials that do. We will not take the possessions of the homeless, unless we have given a 72 hour notice, like we require of renters who lapse in their payment.
We must not assume that our homeless are criminals, transients, lazy or the cause of the major ills of our society unless we have evidence that an individual does display such characters. We must not move our citizens around as if they were piles of garbage that no one wants around.
Let's treat our homeless as human beings. People who need help. Not just some walls to hide them, but caring people. Let's be a city that cares as much about our poor citizens as our wealthy ones.
Let's make this happen for those on the street right now. Let's not wait.