At the bottom of this message is a link to a video titled “Oregon Ranks 2nd in Homelessness”. There are profound truths mentioned within this documentary. I highly encourage you to watch.
As the Executive Director of Northwest Coastal Housing, I was amazed by the timing of the release of this video. It was the week following my trip to Seattle WA, where what I saw was staggering. Million dollar businesses, cars, buildings right in the midst of streets filled with homeless individuals, mentally unstable folk yelling in the streets at invisible children, inebriated individuals staggering in the street barely able to walk, the smell of urine and hypodermic needles placed on brick planter boxes as we walked the sidewalks. This beautiful city, littered with trash. My heart ached.
As my family, including our 10 year old son, walked towards the hospital, a mere 2 blocks away from our location, we all witnessed a young college looking student, being pushed out of a very expensive vehicle onto the street at the corner. The individual collapsed onto the sidewalk and became unresponsive as the vehicle drove away (of course I dialed 911 and we waited till they arrived). Though there are other reasons these conditions occur in Seattle, as we drove home passing through Portland, I looked around at the amount of homeless individuals and pondered on what I had just witnessed between the two cities. Then of course, as we returned home to our rural town of Newport on the beautiful Oregon Coast, I once more made notice of the increased homeless population in our own small community…..and again, pondered.
What is the cause of this homeless crisis? What are the intercepts we need to adopt in order to prevent an individual or family being in this space of instability? How can multi million dollar fixtures be in the same space looking out at families hungry and destitute on the street?
As I recounted the events of our weekend travels to our long time staff member, he excitedly replied, “Wait a minute. I have to show you something”. What he showed me was this video clip of what he saw on the television the night before. As we watched this video, it conveyed everything I had just shared with him. As I continued to watch the 5 piece segment of Oregon, I found myself saying “We need to do something”.
Our agency is a Community Development Corporation who provides housing with services for indivduals who need a home. Whether it is seniors, veterans, homeless families with children, workforce population, you name it. They all need housed because “Everyone Needs a Place to Call Home”. Name a niche….but we cannot do this alone. We need your help to make it happen. Nonprofit Affordable Housing Developers, expecially rural ones such as us, need partners, collaborators, investors willing to stand shoulder to shoulder. We need to expand our capacity for best results. You see, it is not about the money, it is about the mission, but we need the money to fulfill the mission “To provide affordable, safe, decent, stable housing with compassion and integrity.”
Two months ago, our agency applied to the state for Permanent Supportive Housing Development, which we were not awarded funding. Here, two months later, we applied for a small development project of mostly Veteran Units with some workforce. We will discover in January 2020 if we are one of the awardees. Our agency has committed funding towards this development should we be awarded. We will continue to pursue housing development for our homeless and housed. We are the gap between homeless to homeowner.
Please watch the video link below and if you feel compelled to help us develop housing, please consider donating to our organization. We simply cannot do this alone.
Sheila Stiley, Executive Director