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where are the homeless tonight?

Corporate news is going over and over the traffic situation, but no mention is made of the homeless.
The talking heads are telling us over and over to stay home. Well, those of us lucky to have homes will be happy to stay there. What is going on for the homeless!? This happened last year, and I know that many of you worked to help folks find warm places to wait out the freezing temperatures. I do wish the corp media would figure out that there is more to talk about than traffic issues when we get one of these storms.
Potter speaks out 18.Dec.2005 16:56

RedTree

Just as I posted my question about the homeless, Mayor Potter was interviewed and said that donations to Salvation Army and others of warm coats, blankets and other items of warm clothing would be greatly appreciated. A Salvation Army spokesman said they would be working throughout the night. I was very glad to hear those statements.

So this is Christmas 18.Dec.2005 17:38

Man on the street promandan@hotmail.com

The combination of wind, freezing temperatures, and snow drives many homeless into shelters they normally avoid for health reasons. Lice, TB, colds and flu are just a few of the illnesses spread when a large number of people are packed into a tight space. It is hard to sleep with the chorus of snoring and aroma of farts and foul feet. In the early morning the emergency shelters flush weary people back onto the streets.
The stress of walking the cold streets, being mocked and frowned upon, and told to move along when you pause to rest, wears frazzled nerves thin. Endurring this, it wouldn't be long until the best of us started yelling at lamppost.
The Salvationn Army does needed work. They get paid for it and send the extra profit back to the home office in England. Many donations help pay middle class jobs. Major Hogan makes over $50,000 a year. I don't know what his wife makes, but she works for Salvation Army also.
Many donations of clothes end up in the Thrift store and not on the backs of the poor. 4 years ago Nike donated 60 pair of Shoes but not one pair made it onto the feet of the poor.
If you are going to give, give it directly to the person who needs the help. Why not try helping by providing a job if you have the means. Even 4 hours work can make a huge differance in the life of a person in poverty. If your poor yourself then you can still help by advocating for changes that will bring more living wage jobs, stop cuts in social services which create homelessness, the need for health care.
For more information email  promandan@hotmail.com

they ain't in FEMA trailers 18.Dec.2005 18:00

kirsten

Well, FEMA ain't bringing in trailers for the longtime homeless, that is for sure.
I can vouch that the Salvation Army and Saint Vincent de Paul actually get money and supplies to poor people on the street with respect on the whole. If I was rich, I would give money to them. I have seen them do good work for decades, first hand.
It is a crime on America's head that homeless people die on our streets every year out in the cold. It is a f*ckin crime that breaks my heart and gives me terrible survivor guilt when I am not homeless and am warm inside. The richest country on earth has GOT to get to a point where all have shelter and food, at the very least. Proper health care for the homeless community would be nice too. The suffering on the streets in the cold haunts me and just breaks my heart constantly. For all the crap I take for writing so many articles about poverty issues, when I remember people are freezing to death on our streets, I do not care how much shit I take for sticking on that issue.

concerns 18.Dec.2005 18:13

RT

You are right 'man on the street'...there are many problems and we should think about long term solutions. I think most of us are doing just that throughout the year in various ways. What I was addressing is just the emergency concern at times like these...temporary help for people caught out in this kind of weather. At the same time, we don't lose sight of the bigger picture...the fight to make changes in our communities.

We need to get organized 18.Dec.2005 22:06

Man on the street

I lived over three years on the streets of Portland. I learned to write, volunteered with street roots, crossroads and the Homeless Working Group of Southeast Uplift. I learned in the school of hard knocks. Portland City Council has made many positve changes since Vera was Mayor. Tom Potter stops and talks to homeless people as well as most any other member of the community.
Problem is most housed people are too busy in their own lives to see past the superficial. Their is a lot of prejudice against the poor. People desiring cuts in social services are running a slur campaign against the poor. Right wing think tanks spend time spinning language to shift public perception.
We are in the middle of a war against the media, the corporate interest that own them and the right wwing think tanks that create the spin. It is a war for the hearts and minds of Americans. The crossroads civic action group is developing a email list. We will send people information about upcoming legislation, talking points, and contact information to relavant elected officials.
Besides the government we need to hold the media accountable. Too find out more information email me at  promandan@hotmail.com

winter blast from the past 18.Dec.2005 23:38

2004 PDX Indymedia "Storm Team" Coverage

Here are some Indymedia stories from the last winter storm in Portland. It turns out that that mainstream television news uncovered the answer to the question, "What about the homeless?" during their coverage of the blizzard orf January 2004.

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/277698.shtml
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/277934.shtml
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/277924.shtml

I agree with Man on the Street's sentiments 19.Dec.2005 11:27

Jody Paulson

I currently live in a homeless shelter in San Francisco. One of the best things I think one can do for the homeless is offer them some kind of job! Every community is different, but I was really impressed with the solutions Frank Morales describes in this Guns & Butter interview:  link to www.kpfa.org

help the right way 19.Dec.2005 13:04

zaki

What I have done is never given money, unfortunately many have drug and alcohol problems. Give food, from your hand to thiers. Also is you go to a army surplus store, you cam fin many warm items made from WOOL, espeacialy blankets, and take it to them directly. When you buy somethings of that sort from the army surplus, the quality and actual use of them are really good, the army only gives the solders the best and warmest clothing for real cold situations. Wool goves, socks, pants( those are awsome).

help is help 19.Dec.2005 18:54

the root of all evil

Having been homeless and broke (and not drug-addicted, but probably "mentally ill") I can testify that food is not hard to get. This is America, and everybody eats. That doesn't mean any one gift is not appreciated, of course; people have to eat pretty often. But my point is "food for the homeless" is an obvious non sequitur. The problem is not lack of food, it's lack of housing.

I agree that army surplus places have good stuff at good prices. For some people survival is its own kind of warfare.

Basic minima to avoid serious illness sleeping outside in this climate are a mummy-style sleeping bag and a tarp big enough to wrap around as an outer layer, like a burrito. That way you're not directly breathing 35 degree air; there's an intermediate layer where fresh cold air and stale warm air mix together and you get enough oxygen without harming your throat and lungs or risking hypothermia.

Sometimes money is just the thing. People have needs you wouldn't even think of. Fingernail clippers, for instance.

it ashames me 20.Dec.2005 03:23

zaki

It always seems to me that people just don't care. I for one am always hurt when i see people in such dire need, right in the middle of other people who have so much. why do we allow this to happen here in our own country, states and cities, and then go and assist others in other countrys. most of these people (some are just having severe bad things happening to them) are either suffering from drug dependence, or mental illness, its like letting people having cancer, or anykind of diseasse or illness, and leaving them out with no treatment. No one here should be hungry, homeless, cold and ill without the communities help. i just don't get it. I have gone down so many times to places like the labor lines and given people food. The amount of thanks and blessings i get are remarkable. i do it for myself mostly, it helps me feel so much better about myself. we spend so much money on killing people, like Iraq, but do not seem to take care of our own. They can be treated and helped to have a productive life, people just seem to think its thier own fault. this country has really been turning to the bad with taking care of our brothers and sisters.

Disturbing 20.Dec.2005 11:14

Portlander

Also disturbing, is that many of the people who pass by the homeless are also those who claim to be "Christians." Christ himself was in love with the homeless....those are the people he spent His time with. It bothers me when someone throws His name around, and then completely ignores the homeless.... it's sick.