As I look around Vancouver, I see so many resources that can help the homeless: the Vancouver Housing Authority, the Council for the Homeless, Share, and program after program in Clark County and Vancouver governments. Philanthropic organizations and generous individuals have long histories of support. And, of course, the Vancouver police and Clark County sheriff’s departments, our court system, hospitals, mental health and religious organizations, as well as our drug and food programs all stand up when they are called to do so.
But are each of us putting our finger in another hole in the dike? I look to Portland and so many other cities and see our future.
What we lack is coordination of those resources with a razor focus on measurable indicators of actual impact at reducing homelessness — not just efforts at doing so. We all have the will, what we need a collective way.
All of us in the homeless arena know this and each of us try to reach out to others. But we need to recruit some present, overworked, underfunded organization to take on this task. Let’s invest in them so they can get the job done and, of course, measure their impact at doing so.