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homelessness

United Poor People Rise UPP!

This is the text from the UPP 3-fold pamphlet which will soon be made available as an online readable pdf.
The UPP was founded as a people's response to the crisis of poverty and homelessness in Portland. We recognize that this is a national crisis which needs immediate, viable solutions, not promises of future recognition.
We meet in Chapman Square, across from City Hall every day at 10:00am and 6:00pm.
Our meetings are consensus based and open to the public and we encourage and request that YOU come join us and help develop solutions that will WORK.
- SOLUTIONS NOT SWEEPS
- HOMES NOT JAILS
- DIALOGUE NOT A DOG AND PONY SHOW
- CREATIVITY NOT CRIMINALIZATION

Our civil rights are being violated in that we are being asked to be on the move continuously, never being able to stop and rest (much less get a good night's sleep). This is cruel and unusual punishment for a crime never committed. Being houseless is not a crime, and Portland is our home! We are human, and we are your neighbors and we are simply trying to live our diverse lives with dignity and respect. We have nowhere to go, no houses, some of us have been living under bridges and have been swept out, others are living in ineffective marginal housing surrounded by the same social conditions that contribute to the cycle of homelessness and that is why you see us in front of City Hall and in the park across the street. We are looking for and asking for answers as to WHERE WE CAN GO.
Mayor Potter has taken it upon himself to interpret the First Amendment of the Constitution and determined our protest to be an "illegal campground" and since City Hall WAS the only safe place to sleep in Portland but we have been "swept out" of there too!
We are not allowed to camp within City limits and shelters are not an answer to our houselessness. The primarily faith-based and restrictive sheltering system in Portland, and across the United States, are only a band-aid that continues to keep us dependent on the system that needs us to survive largely at taxpayers expense.

37.5 million dollars per year on homeless service programs should be able to afford equitable solutions, but it is not. Too many people have been getting rich off the homeless for too long, and we are tired and weary. We are not looking for a hand-out. We are not looking for luxury suburban housing at taxpayer (our) expense. We are looking for creative solutions that involve and benefit the entire community. This is not just a homeless issue, this is a community issue.
WHAT DO WE WANT?
True dialogue with the Portland community where we can share and listen to each others' creative ideas and solutions for immediate terms, short term, medium term, and long term solutions.
Immediate Term: Repeal of no camping and sit/lie ordinances.
Short Term: Realistic Shelter options for those who want them which can accommodate couples, and those with pets.
Medium/Long Term: Affordable and safe housing in downtown Portland. More effective mental health services and transitional programs outside of the faith-based perspective.

Want to support us?
Housed and houseless. POOR PEOPLE UNITE!
Many have already come to sleep with us on the sidewalks; but we need more allies to spend a few hours, a day, or even a few nights with us, living in our shoes and hearing our stories and spreading the word far and wide.
TELL THE MAYORS OFFICE!
(503)823-3597
As well as your friends, family, and co-workers that we want open, participatory communication, not just forums for talking at one another, but with one another.
GO TO CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS!
Every citizen of Portland is allowed 3 minutes to address the Mayor and City Council. City Council meets every Wednesday from 9:00am until 12:00pm. We need more voices of Portland to express the need for immediate resolve and action on this crisis.

... 22.May.2008 20:49

... junkmaildecoy@comcast.net

Who's getting rich off the homeless?
I wasn't aware such an exploit was remotely feasible.
Seems like the money is being made off of the working class, not the homeless.

Do not misunderstand me, I sympathize for a lot of homeless folks, I regularly have contact with many homeless people as well as burned out old vets. Unfortunately most of them aren't victims, and have their own reasons for being on the streets whether they acknowledge those reasons or not.

There are some legitimate victims here, that much I am aware of. However, I don't think dishing out free housing is going to do much for this issue.
The world seems to be stretched pretty thin these days, and us working class folks seems to be paying for most of it. The closer you are to the bottom, the more clearly you can see it and sympathize with those who dwell there, so it seems the resources for a solution would come from the lower working class(we all know the upper crust isn't going to dish out their "hard earned money").

To clarify, it seems as if this situation dictates that the only people who are likely to save the poor, on the verge of being poor themselves.
Obviously, this complicates matters.

Being one who comes form a background where many of my former comrades chose to glorify the status of homelessness, and voluntarily make it their only option(where as I chose to assimilate into society on my own terms), my personal concern is this:
How do we differentiate between people who need a helping hand, and people who simply refuse to be part of this project called society?

Honestly, I dont have sympathy for those who choose to be homeless. I understand some of their reasoning, but it's not enough to differentiate them from any other common parasite. Not to mention, these people usually hate society to much, and lack any desire to help change it, it almost seems that living somewhere other than the middle of the city would actually be of benefit to them.

If one consumes, they should also produce. We all consume.
It makes sense, but I do realize, life and people do not always fall in line with such generalized thinking.

I dont claim to have the final word here, just offering up my slice of the mass perspective and hoping it in some way helps to line the path to a solution where people are fed and housed in a way thats fair and just for all people, not just the ones who work, and not just the ones who don't/cant.


Afterthought: We really do need some more solidarity built between the homeless and lower classes. That seems like the most logical goal to start with and build up from.

Working Class Reactionaries 24.May.2008 00:39

(A)ngry Poor

The above is why so many radicals distance themselves from the working class. Of course the working class is oppressed, but it has for some time been the case that supposed working class "revolutionaries" create divisions between themselves and those that are even worse off. So you end up with people preaching about how those who do not "contribute" are "parasites". Which of course translates to those who do not serve the rich masters are undeserving, interesting how the logic of the elite becomes recycled by supposed "radicals".

I don't really need to go into the failed logic here I don't think, many radicals have already written at length the reasons why this argument is terribly reactionary. I just wanted to point out that it is reactionary to the core. People deserve the dignity to live without police telling them that they can't sleep because they're "on public property". The solution of course is not so simple as housing for all, but that would be better than what exists at the moment and could be accomplished simply by allowing people to use spaces that are already in existence and not being used. Of course the politicians and capitalists would want the solution to "cost the working class" but that's obviously a way for them to pit the poor against the poor, it's an obfuscation of the real matter at hand, which is that the capitalist and political masters control everything to a degree that a person does not have the ability to live without paying them a toll.

Anyway, maybe you want to rethink your line, or perhaps you are so immersed in the worship of labor that you can't see the vulgarity of some of your statements?