Reflecting on why Eugene has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the nation. In my estimation it has to do with offering services from a point of privilege.

Lane County is doing the right thing at the high end with building low-barrier, no-barrier housing with wrap-around services but at the other end of the spectrum for those sleeping on the streets we need to let them regain their dignity. Being without shelter a person can lose their personal power, their sense of self-worth.

What’s needed is appropriate accountability. When a person comes into a shelter (with adequate physical space for good health) let them rest and sleep safely for three days. Let them eat three meals a day for three days. After the third day let them take a position of responsibility to help run the shelter. There are models for this in our community like Opportunity Village and Community Supported Shelters. Working together with all the resources of the county, city and citizens we can stop enabling dysfunctional behavior and find ways to empower people.
[NOTE: This is re-posted here for the benefit of those who don’t have Facebook.]

Unsheltered dignity