Target: Oregon governor John Kitzhaber
Goal: Provide additional outreach to the homeless in Oregon to limit the growing homeless population in the state.
19,207: that was the total number of homeless people reported by the state of Oregon. And that was two and a half years ago, in a June 2010 study.
According to the study, 31% of the homeless population in Oregon consisted of children, while the number of homeless families with children increased 33% from 2009 to 2010. An Oregon Housing and Community Services representative was quoted in the study as saying that the rise in the homeless population was “unprecedented.”
A very large fraction of the homeless population, as cited in the study, became homeless due to drug/alcohol addiction, with mental illness not far behind on the list of causes. A startling number of those polled reported having both an addiction and a mental illness. The leading cause, of course, was unemployment, and this is not altogether surprising as the current federal economic climate has been unkind to all states.
The study’s final reflection states that, despite the homeless population increasing an unprecedented amount from 2009 to 2010, that it was expected to increase by even more into 2011, given that necessary budget cuts would result in service cuts. This is where the main problem enters into focus; Oregon has long had a consistently, disappointingly high homeless population, but it is failing to make any structural changes to help provide greater outreach.
Oregon needs to find a way to provide more support and service to its homeless population, possibly starting with more free clinics or non-profit shelters. No matter what, the state needs to start taking action if it wishes to truly help its homeless population. Sign the petition to demand that Oregon start reaching out to its most vulnerable residents.
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
Your state has a homeless population that is rising at an alarming rate, and a budget that is actively limiting available service to them. The two actions are closely correlated.
The economy is in bad shape, yes, and things have not quite turned around yet. But you need to figure out a way to provide adequate outreach to your state’s homeless population somehow, and definitely not cut the amount of service they receive.
More free clinics and more non-profit homeless shelters would be a good start. Actively encouraging citizens to volunteer would be a good start. Anything, as long as it contributes toward putting the less fortunate in legitimate housing and helping them turn their lives around, would be a good start.
You need to begin this project, and begin it soon. The homeless people of your state need you, and they need you to take action on their behalf. Make positive change to help them get off the streets and begin living the good quality of life that they deserve to be living.
[Your Name Here]