Sunday, August 7, 2011

Freddy M.

Got word tonight that Freddy M. was found dead in her apartment this morning. Freddy had been homeless a long time before she got into housing. I met her in 2004. She was soft spoken because of a medical condition and generous. Loyal and tender hearted. She was talented. She had a warm and wonderful sense of humor.
Even though Freddy could have called on me any time if she needed something, I only heard from her when she wanted to let me know what was new, to check on my welfare and when someone else needed something.
An exception was last fall; she wanted to know if I could bring her a broom and dustpan. Someone had given her a tent... Finally she was warm and comfortable.  She had been setting it up down town late at night on an out of the way corner and would take it down before the sun came up. She wanted to be able to sweep the corner so I took her a broom.  I watched her as she swept the whole block.
I checked on her a few nights later and while we visited a neighbor came by who was walking his dog. Freddy spoke to him commenting on the cold, wet, weather and asked about his dog, Freddy was friendly, he was abrupt. I had a sick feeling he was going to call in a complaint about her tent. He did and she was unable to use it after that.
When I got that call earlier tonight I thought I would like to be able to say to that man, "Really? You couldn't have just let her alone that night? How was she hurting you?" But then I would want to confront every one who ever discounted or dismissed her in any kind of way. 
Freddy was really something and she will be missed.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Veterans that need permanent housing.

There are many homeless veterans in Portland. I have met hundreds, each one has served in my life time and I delight in any opportunity to serve them. I am currently working with two veterans who are being considered for safe, affordable, permanent housing. They have this opportunity to have their own address and a place to call home. There is only a small window of opportunity for this to happen for them. Application fees have been covered but they each need a $300 deposit. If they can come up with this amount from here on out their monthly rents will be subsidized and covered by VA Pensions that are pending. In other words, for $600 we can end end homelessness for two Vietnam veterans... Now that's a welcome home!