Below is my conversation with Cole Merkel, the Deputy Director of Outreach Management at HereTogether. Cole provides a presentation about the upcoming ballot measure 26-210 and how voting “yes” will help our houseless neighbors.
Houselessness is a chronic issue in our area. This measure seeks to ensure services in the Portland area have needed funding to match the size of the problem. You can find a list of endorsements for this measure by clicking here.
Kaiser Permanente states, “Without a safe, stable place to call home, it’s impossible to focus on basic health and medical needs. Kaiser Permanente supports Here Together because reducing homelessness in ou region will help the entire community thrive.”
The Portland Business Alliance is supporting this measure, along with major businesses. Smith + Connors, a local brand agency, endorses the measure with these words, “It takes those of us with privilege and opportunity to give up something to help those less fortunate. This is a small ask with huge rewards for people living on the edge.”
And, of course, our faith calls us to care for those who are on the margins, or those whom Jesus calls “the least of these” in Matthew 25.
Indeed, our faith calls us to care for our homeless neighbors, but it’s not just our faith. We realize that our economy and the homeless crisis are interconnected. In fact, “the most cost effective way to help the homeless is to give them homes” as opposed to keeping people on the streets where often their best shelter is a hospital bed.
In addition, once people find housing, or at least help them get the care they need, they are able to move from the survival part of their brain to the problem-solving part of their brain. This helps those of us who are homeless to find a way to relax and think and find ways to move forward.
For matters of faith and for practical matters, I urge you to watch the interview above and vote yes on ballot measure 26-210.