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Cascadia tenants need safe housing

Letters to the editor
by: Christopher Onstott, Eric Hossack, a mentally ill tenant at Harriet Court, says recovery is harder when illegal drug use, prostitution and violent behavior by fellow residents, including several sex offenders, is tolerated at the Cascadia Housing project.

Derald Walker stated in "Cascadia article paints false portrait" (June 7) that Harriet Court is entirely independent living. That is not true.

Eric Hossack, (see "Cascadia Housing: not always for healing," May 24), has transitioned there from a higher level of care, and is participating in the Aim High program implemented by the state to transition persons to a lower level of care to make room for those coming out of the state hospital.

I am appalled that Cascadia thinks it is OK to house such a vulnerable tenant among the chaos at Harriet Court.

I am even more appalled that the county has allowed this to happen. Once Eric was able to confirm there were sex offenders living in the same building, he filed a grievance with Cascadia Housing for not informing him. At the grievance hearing, Jim Hlava, vice president of Cascadia Housing, told Eric he should have done his homework prior to moving in.

Really? You expect someone who has been living in a residential treatment facility to do research like that? Not very realistic in my opinion, and also not very respectful to answer Eric in that way.

Do you really think there are tenants who would actually tell the chief executive officer and vice president of housing they aren't happy with their apartments? These tenants are afraid of people with power and scared to death that if they tell the truth they will be evicted.

Cascadia has been lucky so far to not be audited for the services they promised to provide. Maybe they should read all the service plans and management agreements?

Nancy Wagoner

Southeast Portland

Cascadia Housing ready to explode

This is the future of mental health care for the poor -- sad, but true (Cascadia Housing: not always for healing, May 24).

I know a man who lives at the place off Powell. I can confirm all in this story is true and more.

Can't some volunteers from the United Way or local churches make some effort (at least try) to reach out to these folks? Some effort is better than none.

Doesn't someone realize that this is a bomb ready to go off and when it does, it will cost much more than simple management of the issues now?

I urge everyone who reads this to call the mayor's office. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It surely cannot hurt. If 10 people call every day for five days a week, surely someone will listen.

Sometimes I wonder, my God, what have we as a society become when we cannot take care of those who truly need it the most.

Monica Elliot

Milwaukie

Cascadia employees fear management

As an ex-property manager for Cascadia and now an ex-certified alcohol and drug counselor, I have dealt with Cascadia, first as an on-site manager.

I knew my tenants, and during office hours I had coffee with them. I knew if they were in trouble or had not been seen in a couple of days. I had phone numbers of family members to contact. I found that calling "my last asset manager" only got me into trouble. She didn't want to hear about tenants' concerns if they were of a personal nature or about mental health or substance issues. This was not the case when Julie Garvey hired me. Julie was very caring and very visible. We worked together to keep the tenants stable and in housing.

I was there to collect rent, report needed repairs and be at her beck and call 24/7. When this "professional money person" that Jim Hlava hired told him lies regarding me, I was presented with a visit from him and her and was not given my say, but a plan to improve.

I gave my 30-day notice.

I was not allowed to state my concerns or tell him the real truth. Since then, while visiting the building, I have heard that tenants never see the on-site manager, never meet the "person above her," and my old asset manager is now in charge of the money.

Why do good employees get fired or resign? Because Cascadia is not ethical. If someone looks like a "problem" or "may tell," they are fired. Current employees are afraid to say anything.

Janet Lynn

Portland