Monday, April 10, 2006

Chuck Currie Delivers on Bog/Sten/Homelessness

A couple of weeks ago I took blogger Jack Bogdanski to task for his sloppy factchecking and distorted arguments against Erik Sten and his record on fighting homelessness. I was able to give some examples to refute Bogdanski's claim of stasis, but over the weekend our good friend Chuck Currie drove the point home better than I ever could. Rather than update my original post and have few see it since it's no longer on our front page, I want to recall your attention to the matter and let Chuck do the talking:

Ask the women living at Jean’s Place – a shelter for domestic violence victims built under Sten’s watch – what their lives would be like without Sten’s work.

Ask the men living at the Clark Center where they would be if not for Sten’s leadership.

Ask those people suffering with chronic mental illness what their quality of life would be like if Sten hadn’t helped to turn the Royal Palm into housing for them.

Ask the teenagers living in Outside In’s housing program what it would be like for them if Sten hadn’t been there to support their cause.

Ask all those who have moved off the street into permanent housing – families, women, children – if life would have been better for them without Sten fighting for their needs.

Is life perfect now for people who are homeless? Hardly. We still need more services. More than anything we need affordable housing. Our leaders in Salem and Washington, DC have failed to provide local urban centers with the help we need to address the homeless crisis that every city faces. Portland has been left alone to deal with the difficult challenges.

Sten has worked against all odds – and with limited resources – to produce great results. He has had to sometimes fight groups like the Portland Business Alliance and even Mayor Katz for the resources needed to make these programs successful.

Most politicians would never put the time and energy into working to help people who are homeless transition off the streets into a better life. Where is the political pay off for that?

Here is the amazing thing: Sten doesn’t care about that. He just wants to do the right thing.

All of Portland is better off because of his work.

And as usual, we welcome Jack's rebuttal--and I'm sure Chuck does too, over at his place. But you'd better come correct...