Don't know how many people have seen Henry Stern's recent story Francesconi outlines first 100 days if mayor in The Oregonian but in the article Francesconi promises to find housing for 200 of the hundreds of people currently living on Portland's streets or in Dignity Village by working with owners of vacant apartments to provide rent subsidies and down-payment assistance for the homeless. Francesconi opposes Dignity Village as being ineffective and too distant from social services.
Francesconi's promise sounds like so much hot air out here at Dignity Village and he seems out of touch with the current reality. For one thing, Mr. Francesconi fails to think through how we'd be able to maintain rent payments on those promised apartments once the city's subsidies ran out as many of us here are underemployed or unemployed and none of us earn the $15.29 per hour Moving to Portland 2004 says a full-time worker needs to earn to afford a two-bedroom unit at Portland's Fair Market Rent. For another, what of the people with terrible disabilities out here at Dignity who are unable to access benefits with which to pay rent on account of the way the system's currently arranged? Where would those of us go once the subsidies Jim promises ran out? The answer is we'd probably get back in the lines for soup, shelter, clothing, showers, et cetera, and take up again the full-time job homelessness has become and all at the expense of our own and the rest of Portland's tax-payers' taxes!
Francesconi says Dignity is ineffective and too distant from social services. Why then is Dignity full to capacity in the colder months and why, even now as we have a current freeze on new admissions as we come into compliance with city code, is the waiting list for admission to Dignity Village a mile long?
Sometimes I wish candidates knew whereof they spoke before making promises they cannot keep.