Pair of bills would help provide and keep shelter

As chair of the Interfaith Committee on Homelessness based in Washington County, I can report that our group has learned the following:

• The average age of people seeking shelter in Washington County is 12.

• There are 110 shelter beds in a county that just passed 500,000 in population.

• Washington County is the richest county in Oregon, but it also leads in people who fall below the poverty line.

• Twelve out of 100 people seeking help find it from shelters. The other 88 are sent back to the street.

• There is no shelter help for singles of either sex.

• High property values mean many people cannot find or afford a place to live, or, if they pay rent, they forgo food and/or health care.

This problem is getting worse. Our group finds this situation unacceptable. We believe hard working families deserve a stable affordable home of their own.

Oregon Senate Bill 38 creates a $100 million trust fund that in turn would fund affordable housing, provide for shelters, get the mentally ill off the streets and encourage people to own their own homes.Its passage promises real solutions.

House Bill 3186, the condo conversion bill, would protect people from having the rug yanked out from under their housing, a major contributor to homelessness.

We endorse both bills and look forward to a better day with their passage. We encourage support of these bills which will go a long way toward solving this problem.

Eric Canon

Interfaith Committee on Homelessness

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