Thursday, October 29, 2020

Who looks after Lincoln City’s “unvetted” homeless population?

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Lincoln City Homepage Letters to the editor

Although I genuinely support any well-intentioned attempt the city takes in acknowledging its responsibility to provide shelter of any kind for its homeless population, I can’t help but note the huge difference between the support that the city recently gave to the Helping Hands non-profit ($750,000 up front!) in its mission to provide “transitional housing,” primarily for the City’s “vetted” homeless – compared to the support the City reluctantly allocated over the years to the now dissolved Lincoln City Emergency Warming Shelter (LCWS) non-profit, which primarily served the “unvetted” homeless.

From its inception, LCWS was both underfunded and legally encumbered by the city, both before and after it briefly occupied the old Taft Fire House, which the city forced it to vacate, leaving LCWS with the only option to merge with the newly established, north Lincoln City C.H.A.N.C.E. non-profit, which (even though it primarily serves the “vetted” homeless) the city eventually hamstrung legally, once again leaving a significant portion of the City’s homeless problem (mostly “unvetted”) to our churches to solve this winter.

In that regard, a big “Thank You!” is due from our community to the First Baptist Church and its neighbors!

Jay Roelof, Lincoln City

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The views and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are not necessarily those of Lincoln City Homepage.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. This is a problem for our whole county. “Vetted” or “unvetted”, these are human beings! This is a difficult conundrum for the tax-paying residents who have to think of the safety of our families and property, but still see the desperation of the problem. Everyone is all for tiny home villages, but not too close to our homes, schools or businesses. We all know that twinge of pity mixed with annoyance at the panhandling. We all want something done, but no one seems to have an answer that will give a sense of security to the majority, while still serving those who need a helping hand.
    I have been deeply saddened by the recent deaths of homeless individuals in our community, and especially the woman who was sleeping in a driveway in Portland, and was run over. These human beings are so overlooked, that we don’t feel their existence until we have run them over with all four tires. Let that sink in. All. Four. Tires.
    My family has been homeless. We have slept in our car. We have been hassled by the same cops who now call us “Sir” and “Ma’am” when they speak to us, the only difference is that we own our home, so they can’t run us off any longer. I know what it’s like to go from day to day, just reaching for a thread of hope, and the defeat of hearing rejection due to “lack of funds”.
    I don’t have the answers, but I know that it’s going to take more than arguing amongst ourselves to solve the problem. I also believe that by listening to our homeless, and people like me who have been there, we can find short and long term solutions that lift up our whole community.
    If you have a good idea that has worked in another state or country, and you think it might work here, start submitting the ideas to city counsel, instead of showing up with empty complaints. Bring solutions to the table! The same goes for our unhomed citizens, make your voice heard! You are on the front lines. You know what the people need, and people are searching for answers. Write letters to the editor, submit short, clear ideas to city counsel. Advocate for yourself and those who need your voice today.
    I believe in our community. We have our struggles, but Lincoln County also has some of the most wonderful, charitable, compassionate and kind people I have ever met. I have lived in 6 different states, visited every state in the western half of our country, and visited 3 countries. I wouldn’t want to call any other place on earth; home.
    Love & light to ALL.

  2. We’re one of the close neighbors of the First Baptist Church. Whenever the pastors and members have opened their doors to the homeless people of our community as a warming shelter, we have never heard nor seen anyone behaving inappropriately. The have been extremely quiet, and almost invisible except when someone is using an ashtray pole located at one corner of the property. It’s here that I must mention that they have been far better neighbors than a great many people who rent the surrounding vacation homes.

  3. Lincoln City is my adopted second home city. No matter where I roam it holds a special place in my heart and memories. I am so sad that it, like so many cities is plagued with the homeless dilemma. I hope the citizens and city gov’t will step up and work to find solutions. I’m shocked that this hasn’t been the case up until now(?). I shouldn’t be, it is near on impossible for the low paid workers to find a place to live. The city businesses rely on them so much but don’t come together to solve the issue. I think if businesses, citizens and govt got together they could solve or at least alleviate much of this issue. Build or refurbish a bldg to use as a dormitory for low income workers. Maybe do the same for the homeless working with churches, businesses, private citizens and the govt to help bring dignity to people’s lives.
    You might look to Vancouver, WA for an example. We haven’t solved everything but with Share, council of churches, council for the homeless, business associations, Veterans advisory board, other nonprofit organization and the Clark county govt the issues are being addressed.
    I wish the beach communities the best in this fight and in the future. I would help the community if there is such a fund or way to contribute.

  4. Unfortunately many of the homeless population here in Lincoln County are also mentally ill and have severe chemical dependency’s that preclude them from enacting with most of society in a “normal” way. Whatever that really means. I have interacted with a lot of unfortunates in my time working in the Correctional field supervising a work crew in both Oregon and Washington states. I can tell you honestly that most of them are not dangerous to others and are actually on any given night much more likely to be victimized than you or I. Most of them don’t know how to get out of the boat their in sadly and very few programs out there actually help in that regard. Thank God for the churches and organizations , and regular, “normal “ folks step up and help out in the right circumstances. I don’t have all the answers to this huge, complex problem in our world but recognizing these basic truths is a big start. I myself as a teen was one of Portland Oregon’s late 70s homeless kids. Living under the burnside bridge. Eating out of garbage cans in old town and riding metro all night if bus driver was cool. My dilemma was derived from completely different circumstances, my parents divorced and I thought at 15 I could take care of myself. Ha! Anyway maybe, just maybe, those circumstances weren’t that different after all!!!

  5. It’s going be druggies. Just bus them to sale and let Brown deal with them. Better yet ship them to California. A coastal beach community is not a place to shelter these people. We pay big money to live here, while they get a free ride. Time to abandon Lincoln city since the city has abandoned tax payers.

  6. What does the city really do except turn a blind eye? And yes, most have drug problems. But they are still human beings worthy of empathy. Peace to all.

  7. R.B. and Dick Anderson both seem to be of the opinion that as the City Charter doesn’t explicitly mention the City improving the general welfare of all residents that the city can’t do it.

    I found no reference in the charter to a public library, and yet we have one. In fact, the charter (as opposed to the code) is pretty vague about what the city can and can’t do.

    We can argue about who pays more in taxes and whether that should give more or less representation, but I want to live in a society where everyone is taken care of to at least a certain minimum extent.

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