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Letter to the Big Boss of Homelessness
Director Dan Field:
Congratulations on your appointment to Director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services. You have taken on a monumental task which I consider the most critical issue facing the city and county in my lifetime. I wish you well and I am doing what I can as a citizen to assist the efforts.
I live in SE Portland in Sellwood. I have enclosed a copy of my new book about my interactions with the homeless men and women living in my neighborhood, in particular, a 50-something man named Mark, a native Oregonian who has been living on the streets for seven years.
Mark and I became friends two years ago, forming a bond over literature. Last summer I made an attempt to find Mark housing through the Joint Office of Homeless Services, 2-1-1 and Central City Concern and utterly failed because of repeated institutional incompetence and indifference so egregious that it has almost destroyed my faith in progressive governing. My account of this terrible experience begins at chapter 25 and runs through 36.
I ask you to read what happened to me and Mark. It will take all of 15 minutes. Should you choose to read the entire book, I would appreciate it. I think it might enlighten you and suggest some program corrections. I have no agenda with this book. I want only to help one willing homeless man, my friend, find housing. I belong to no advocacy group. I am not employed by any agency or organization serving the homeless.
Mark is still living on the streets of Sellwood. He won't last another year out there. Apparently, diabetes has set in and he's an alcoholic and receiving no medical care for any of his health maladies.
I gave him a copy of the book a couple of weeks ago and said if it prompted him to want to try again to get into housing this spring or summer, I would assist him again.
I do hope you read the book. I am willing to meet at any time or place for ten minutes to discuss this story and how, perhaps, it might make a small difference in ameliorating one small part of this humanitarian tragedy.
Thanks for the consideration and good luck with your undertaking. You very well could go down in Oregon history if you make progress.