Topic: Understanding Homelessness
Wednesday, Feb 15, 6:30-8:30PM
Hilyard Community Center
2580 Hilyard Street, Eugene
Contributed by SHiNA Chair Chris Jockheck
We see it every day.
We see it everywhere; Eugene, the Valley,
the coast, through out the state and beyond.
We turn our heads so we don’t have to engage.
We avoid certain areas, certain streets.
We see the tents, push carts, all the belongings, what is
kept and what is left behind.
We see the people: individuals, couples, children, young
and old. And we get angry. And we should be angry.
But to whom (who)? To ‘them’?, to local government?, to state government?, to federal government?, our economic system?, education system?, health care system? As we start a new year, both local and state government leaders want to address the homeless issue making it a priority. But what does that mean? How are they proposing to have the discussions so there’s a full understanding of what has created the situation? Are they dealing with the symptoms or are they going to get ‘down and dirty’, and look at dealing with the origins of the crisis? And the future (numbers are only growing).
There are many questions, and many of us think we have ‘solutions’. And we have our bias. But in order to understand the discussions that will be taking place we have to understand the issue. Who are the homeless? How does someone become homeless? Why are some people in a chronic long term situation while some are able to make a transition to a better life? What is in those carts? What role do drugs play? What role does mental health status play? A day in their life???
To help provide that understanding, SHiNA will be hosting a panel discussion and ‘community conversation’ on homelessness. Panelists will be Heather Sielicki, community advocate and; Tracy Joscelyn, manager of Nightengale safe sleeping site; and, Kelly McIver, Communications Manager, Unhoused Response, City of Eugene. We hope to see you there. This will be an in-person meeting only.