Monday, February 6, 2012

An immigrant to our shores

Let me tell you about the story of a man we met recently. A legal immigrant to our country, this man did EVERYTHING right. When he had some friends going through tough times, he bound together with four other men, and rented a house. One by one they lost their jobs, until he was the last one left with a job. Unfortunately, his meager income wasn't enough- and after not being able to meet the rent three months in a row, all four men were evicted. Still he tried. He rented a small apartment, invited his friends to sleep on the floor. But a couple of months later, he lost his job, and all were evicted again. Out on the streets, with no way to get shelter, the four friends split up. One night as he was sleeping, his wallet was stolen. Under Oregon's new RealID act, he had no way to replace his ID, for he had to get his birth certificate from his birth country, replace his visa, replace his green card, replace his driver's license. In one short step, he went from being a legal but struggling immigrant, to an undocumented homeless immigrant, through no fault of his own. And that's when Barb met him. She helped him get the paperwork he needed. Often here in Oregon, due to necessity, many government offices will waive fees to help get somebody off the streets, and in most cases for this man this was so- except for one very important form, which cost a whole $.75 (75 cents). Barb gave him a dollar- and a bus pass- and he's now employed and on his way off the streets. This is what we do. Can you become one of our sustaining circle? Go to and find out how.

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