Posts Tagged ‘homeless’

Picture the Worth of a Soul

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

When people, in general of course, think of a typical homeless person, they get a picture in their head of a dirty addict that don’t take showers and don’t care how they appear or act. At the time I became homeless I left with only the clothes on me. I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. Being scared I didn’t want to think, because I too at one point had the stereotype image in my head. Once I found the things I needed around me to be okay, I became less and less afraid. I also learned that there are several images of a homeless person. There are the people with real addiction problems that don’t remember to shower. There are those too with addiction issues that do shower and go to clothes closets and do their laundry. There are ones that are able to get into a shelter and able to get help, but still don’t take care of themselves. There are families living out of the car, because their father’s job moved across the seas. They’re the people who are unable to get the medical and mental help they need, but have no insurance. Point is they are human, worth no more nor any less than anyone else. No one asks to be homeless and in one day anyone can be.

By Dawn McLaren

 

Finding Camp by D.W.

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Being able to find a place to camp around Eugene without being ticketed is impossible. Me and my husband found a place and haven’t been bothered yet. Its not as bad as it seems. We have been at our spot for about 2 weeks. I believe it is to live or to be hunted give or take it how you want it. Working for the Vagabond has made it easier for me to eat, sleep and work by knowing that when I wake up I have something to me me out of trouble by working for  the Vagabond. I leave my camp at 11:00 in the morning and sell papers till 6:00 and design t-shirts for the basketball jerseys, which will be for sell at our booth throughout the week.

I heard this morning from a fellow homeless person that in the parks and open spaces, people are out hunting for homeless people camping. I’m sorry, illegal campers. I see everyday the bicycle cops handing out tickets to homeless people. Some of the tickets, like drinking in the park, are definitely worth writing. I mean, as far as having a balanced out society, sober vs. drunk. But to see these cops writing out trespassing tickets for people sitting on a concrete curb between dinner and the liquor store? Come on people. Is it really necessary? To watch 5 bicycle cops and the paddy wagon pull into the park that sits right across from the court house and tell the homeless kids that they can either leave now or go to jail. Not only is that blatantly outright bullying, but is is unconstitutional. To harass people with backpacks is unconstitutional.

UN Expert: Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S is Cruel and Inhumane

Friday, August 26th, 2011

For Immediate Release – – GENEVA, CH – Today, in an official report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a top UN investigator said that the United States’ failure to provide homeless persons access to water and sanitary facilities “could […] amount to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.”  The report was issued by UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque.


“The Rapporteur’s report is the latest in a series of condemnations by international experts of the criminalization and mistreatment of homeless persons in the U.S.,” said Eric Tars, human rights program director at the National Law Center on Homelessness  Poverty (Law Center), which helped facilitate her visit. “Earlier this year, the U.S. committed itself before the Human Rights Council to doing more to protect the rights of homeless persons. Where is the action to follow the words?”

Ms. de Albuquerque visited the U.S. in February and March 2011, and was struck by the “extraordinary lengths” homeless persons had to go to just to remove bodily wastes.  During a visit to the Safe Ground tent community near Sacramento, California, she met a man who called himself the community’s “sanitation technician.”  The man, “Tim,” engineered a sanitation system consisting of a seat overtop a two-layered plastic bag.  Every week, Tim collects bags of human waste, weighing anywhere from 130 to 230 pounds, and hauls them on his bicycle several miles to a public restroom.  When a toilet becomes available, he empties the contents of the bags.  Following the disposal, he secures the dirty bags in a clean one, which he then places in the garbage, before washing his hands with water and lemon.

He said the job is difficult, but that he does it for the community — especially the women.

Ms. de Albuquerque’s report states: “The United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, must ensure that everyone [has access] to sanitation which is safe, hygienic, secure […] and which provides privacy and ensures dignity. An immediate, interim solution is to ensure access to restroom facilities in public places, including during the night. The long-term solution to homelessness must be to ensure adequate housing.”

In June 2010, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness adopted its first-ever comprehensive plan to end homelessness, including a section promoting constructive alternatives to criminalization. However, the criminalization of homelessness by communities persists, and to date, the Justice Department and other agencies have done little to convey the unconstitutionality of these practices to local policymakers.

“This adds to a growing record of both domestic and international law stating that homeless persons cannot be criminalized for basic life-sustaining acts when the community provides no legal alternative,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the Law Center.  “But ultimately, we must remedy this situation because we, as Americans, believe that no person deserves to be treated this way.”

The Rapporteur’s Report is available at:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/18session/A-HRC-18-33-Add4_en.pdf .

It will be officially presented to the Human Rights Council at their session next month.

###

The National Law Center on Homelessness  Poverty’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement.


Eric Tars
Human Rights Program Director/
Children & Youth Staff Attorney
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
1411 K St., N.W.
Suite 1400
Washington, D.C. 20005
Home office: (215) 392-0298 (primary)
Main office: (202)638-2535
Fax: (202) 628-2737
Email: etars@…
www.nlchp.org
wiki.nlchp.org

 

Vagabond Vlog 4, August 2011

Friday, August 12th, 2011

The Oregon Vagabond August 2011, Volume 2 – Issue 8

Monday, August 1st, 2011

 

August’s issue is hot off the press! In the August 2011 issue of The Oregon Vagabond, we have published stories by 15 local writers, who attend our writing workshops Tuesday afternoons at Washington-Jefferson Park under the bridge. Photography in this issue is by L.E. Erickson and James Beason (Lane Community College journalism intern).

Welcome to our newest advertisers: Bijou Art Cinemas, Organically Grown Company and The City of Eugene Equity and Human Rights Center. Our Contributors Club membership continues to grow – thank you to those who joined this past month! A special thank you to the Human Rights Commission for awarding us a grant and endorsing our work with the homeless community and McKenzie Mist for the gift of water to hydrate those experiencing homelessness.

The Oregon Vagabond is distributed by our homeless vendors on the streets of Eugene by the Farmers Market and Saturday Market. Other downtown locations include near The Kiva grocery store, across the street from Cafe Zenon and the U of O campus.

Thank you to the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Each fiscal year, the City of Eugene allocates a small amount of public money to the Human Rights Commission, which goes toward community event funding requests. The Oregon Vagabond is pleased to announce that on June 21, 2011 the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) endorsed our Vagabond Basketball Tuesdays, Writing Workshop and Support Group. The HRC also approved our request for funding; we were granted $100 (maximum) to spend on these activities. Recipients of Human Rights Commission funding have met the approval guidelines and aligns with their mission – “The City of Eugene values the dignity of all human beings. We are committed to:

  • Ensuring that human rights are a central part of every City program;
  • Respecting and reflecting cultural and individual diversity;
  • Fostering mutual understanding; and
  • Promoting inclusiveness, justice and equity.”

For more information, visit the City of Eugene Equity and Human Rights Center‘s website.

The Oregon Vagabond is very thankful for and encouraged by receiving the support of the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission.

The Oregon Vagabond July 2011, Volume 2- Issue 7

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

July’s issue is hot off the press! Where to get a newspaper this weekend? One area The Oregon Vagabond is distributed by our homeless vendors on Saturday is on the streets by the Farmers Market and Saturday Market in downtown Eugene. In the July 2011 issue of The Oregon Vagabond, we have published stories by 15 local writers, who attend our writing workshops Tuesday afternoons at Washington-Jefferson Park under the bridge. Photography by L.E. Erickson.

Welcome to our newest advertiser, Arriving by Bike – urban cycling outfitters, located at 27th and Willamette. Next time you drop by, be sure to mention you saw their ad in The Oregon Vagabond and thank them for supporting our work with the homeless community! Our Contributors Club membership is growing – thank you to those who joined this past month!

Wishing everyone a safe and fun holiday weekend and July 4th celebration!

They did not come to be served, but to serve.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

On Saturday, June 25, I attended an event held from noon to 3:00 p.m. under the Washington-Jefferson Bridge, an outreach to those experiencing homelessness in Eugene. Hosted in partnership by the University Fellowship (UFC) and Free People who serves Eugene’s homeless community, everything at this event was free: music, food, beverages, haircuts, clothing, photo sessions and crafts for kids… all provided by volunteers.

Jennifer Brown and her partner Alonzo Cole, along with their children Jorden Cole 5, Zoie Garcia 3 and their friend Celeste Lee 7 attended the event.  What brought them is best shared in Jennifer’s own words:

“What brought me to the event was my friend Starrla who is also my daughter’s (Zoie) aunt and Jeff, who is like my dad – we call him Papa.  Papa is currently homeless and during the summer he enjoys it most.  I myself have lived through the homeless times during my childhood living in cars 5th wheels and tents, in my teen years, up in the mountains off the side of the road. Having parents with drug addictions led to our homelessness.  Although I am currently unemployed and life has thus had its struggles, I am doing okay and have a mobile home to call my own.  I am very fortunate for the resources the community has to offer and am currently a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul and getting work experience.”

I took photos of Jennifer and her family as they were waiting for the volunteer photographer to do a photo session with them. I told the kids that they could practice their poses with me… “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

 

Free portraits.

 

People lined up for the opportunity to pose for a free portrait session with friends and loved ones, like Jennifer’s family and these two buddies here:

 

I ran into my homeless friend Bobie and hung out with her as she had her hair cut by a volunteer. Although Bobie has had an extremely difficult year, when we talk she not only shares some of her heartbreaks and problems with me, but she shares her amazing, optimistic perspective on what her life could be like in the future, IF…. I think her new look reflects that vibrant glimmer of hope that resonates in her voice and eyes when she talks about her dreams.

 

Bobie before her haircut.

People lined up and patiently waited their turn for a free haircut.

The new Bobie!

I too am thankful for the resources our community has to offer those experiencing homelessness, and the messages of love in action, faith and hope in Christ shared by UFC and the mission of Free People to serve the homeless, as they say “without requirements or expectations, offering practical assistance for those in need.”

Click here for a list of other resources and social services available to the homeless community in Eugene/Springfield (Lane County, Oregon).

 

More photos from the event:

Gathering at Washington-Jefferson Park.

Free music. Free clothing.

Food prepared and served by volunteers.

Free medical advice.

Face-painting and crafts for kids of all ages.

by L.E. Erickson

 

So While You’re Traveling

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

When you get off the road and enter Eugene, you will notice a few things. One, downtown, two, all the parks, and three, the river. But mainly what you’ll hear about is the Whitaker. All of these places are all what nakes up Eugene. At times there are social settings that haven’t reached the same culture as everyone else in the US.

What occurs in this town while you’re homeless is mainly up to you. All of the mentioned spots are good and a couple bad. Don’t be drawn into downtown’s everyday drama; it has been blown up beyond all proportion. The parks are cool for short periods of time.

Now at the river, you can swim, laugh, enjoy your personal beverages and just have fun. It also can be a relaxing place to tan or meditate.

All these things can keep you sane in this town while you’re here.

The Whitaker is unexplainable, just treat “the Whit” right and it will do the same for you. And remember, friends, winter is coming, so prepare. Everyone is in this together, survive as friends and we will all make it through anything. Fight and we’ll perish. That’s exactly what the Eugene police want, what the taxpayers and all the other officials in this town push for: NO HOMELESS.

So remember while you’re here, the citizens are not just the community, the homeless are as well.

Go Ducks!!

 

By Thomas Templeton

 

Living in a CAR But Reaching For the Stars

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

“Seven out of 10 Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.” Pras Michel

I was driving east out of Eugene a couple weeks ago, when I saw this guy playing his heart out with a cardboard sign duck-taped to his guitar. I turned around and came back to talk to him. Long story about how he not only lost his job in another state, but was shorted a couple months of hard-earned pay. Between selling his vintage guitar and taking what money he could scrape together, he bought a car and drove to Oregon. He came here with his girlfriend for a 10-hour a week job with hopes of more hours or something better to come along, so they can transition from living out of their $500 car to a rental. The day before I met him, his girlfriend’s appendix burst. So, while he’s out here at this busy intersection playing for dollars, she’s in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery. If he can come  up with enough cash, they have the possibility of moving into a cheap rental that’s about 20-miles out of town. Despite their dire circumstance, this guy appears to remain cool under pressure; focused on turning their situation around, he’s looking up and not down, by “reaching for the stars”.

by L.E. Erickson

See Photo Essays, Request for Submissions

Life Bein’ A Homeless in Eugene, OR

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

When we first arrived in Eugene we was only going to stay for about a week, then we was headed back to California to settle down. It has been two months now and we are still here in Eugene.

I thought being homeless here would be like it was everywhere else “hard and uneasy.” But it’s not like I expected, it’s better. There are so many opportunities and resources for us homeless it’s incredible. Here in Eugene they have feeds downtown Monday thru Thursday at a diner that serves three sides, which is actually very good food and the people who volunteer are really nice people who take four hours out of their own day four days a week just for us homeless. That should only show that not all people think only of themselves but of others too!

On Saturday at twelve a group of people get together at Washington Jefferson to feed not only homeless but everyone. On Friday the church feeds, so unlike bein’ in California with very little ways to keep from bein’ hungry, Eugene has the best sources for homeless that keeps us striving for another day. Most everyone thinks bein’ homeless means that you’re a dirty and unhealthy bum, but that would be the largest judgment on homeless anyone could ever make. Us homeless in Eugene have almost more resources to keep our hygiene to its max. For example, homeless have the Mission who not only lets us shower but also lets you get clothing and tennis shoes almost when needed. We have the Service Station, which feeds you and also lets you shower, and on top of that, they have washers and dryers, which to me as a homeless is very thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience bein’ homeless in Eugene.

People ask why I chose to settle down in Eugene and I tell them that, because of all the resources, Eugene has inspired me to not just want to better myself but Eugene makes me feel like I have to. That if I can do it anyone can and that is what I feel I should do for myself as a homeless. I want the people who does for the homeless to be able to see me one day soon and be able to say I knew you could do it, all you need was opportunity and encouragement from others. That what I hope for myself is to achieve what I’ve been striving for 27 years of my life, freedom from being under judgment.

By Michelle Gunn

Vagabond Vlog 1 – May 2011

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Every month, beginning May 2011, David Gerber, the publisher and editor of The Oregon Vagabond – Eugene’s Original Street Newspaper and “Voice of the Streets”, will post a “Vagabond Vlog” update of what’s new with the newspaper and on the streets.

May 2011

We’re All One

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I’m watching from afar as David and his homeless friend Jason play basketball under the bridge. One of the first things Jason says as he approaches me after their game is “we are all connected… we’re all one.” Looking me in the eyes with his arms held out wide, he steps close and gives me a long hug. He goes on to quote a passage from Psalms, talks to me about the angels that surround and protect us, along with a demonstration on how to protect myself should I ever be attacked by an unsavory character. More hugs follow.

It’s no coincidence that I meet Jason for the first time the day after I saw the documentary “I AM“. The whole point and purpose of the film is to acknowledge and celebrate the mysterious and profound interconnectedness we have with one another and all things. Not only is it a spiritual phenomenon, but this truth is being validated over and over again by scientific research throughout the world. It is in our DNA to be sympathetic, compassionate… we are born to be our brother’s keeper.

Often as I walk the streets of the city, talking with, hugging, helping out and photographing strangers (some are members of our homeless community), Hebrews 13:2 comes to mind – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Perhaps I have. I am discovering that we all have far more in common than not, and those with little more than the clothes on their back bless me more than words can say simply by being themselves and sharing even a brief moment of their lives with me. Thank you, Jason.

David McArthur writes in his book ‘The Intelligent Heart’ – “Love does not only transform our mental/emotional nature, it also involves the physical system of our body which goes through profound changes as well.” As we give up our self-awareness to become more aware of the greatness and beauty that lies within others, not judging by outward appearances so that we might know and love them with our heart, we begin to experience life and relationships with one another on a deeper and much healthier level of interconnectedness, wholeness and wellness. This is where the kind of change we wish to see in ourselves and the world happens.

Jesus wasn’t found among the most beautiful and affluent, rather he was ridiculed for befriending and loving those who are known as “untouchables” in some cultures. Jesus led by example, showing us how to love and give generously and unconditionally. Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Like the message of the movie “I AM“, it turns out that it is our intuitive heart’s intelligence that guides us and not our cerebral brain. It is knowing, responding, loving and giving from our hearts that makes our community and world a better, safer place to live… one decision, one random act of kindness, one person at a time… starting with me and you.

by L.E. Erickson

“At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything else.” ~ George Leonard (1923-2010); American writer

The Grand Symphony

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I love the warming centers. I’ve been so cold for so long, never knew I’d miss warm air so much. The ladies there always treat me so nice although I have no idea why. Perhaps they just feel sorry for a lonely old cowboy. But I’ve known so many trails since Oklahoma, and all of the have somehow led me here, to these warming centers in Eugene. They are the best God sent life-savers you could ever imagine. The only drawback is this. There you are, lying on a cot in a large room in the basement of a church, with about 100 other homeless bodies such as myself. As the evening goes on into the early morning hours the place becomes a veritable symphony consisting of a variety of snoring, accompanied by the occasional soft or loud fart. You really have to be there to appreciate the entire concert performance. It’s for real, just like survival.

Actually it’s kind of weird in symphony hall because the entire orchestra is used to being outside in the cold all the time. So the first time that we actually have a nice warm place to sleep we’re just not used to the warm air, creating a situation where you’re almost sweating while trying to get some rest. The experience is difficult to describe, but it’s very true. If you’re not used to warm air, it takes some getting used to. At the same time you certainly don’t prefer to be cold and freezing to death. You just want to survive. Don’t we all… Happy trails until we meet again!

by Cowboy

What This Newspaper Means to Me

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Regarding my life today working for The Oregon Vagabond, I can say this much – the stories we choose to write for the community are written from the heart, and we don’t mind sharing our personal stories. When I chose to live on the streets, I started out doing a lot of things which today I am not proud of. I started getting into a great deal of trouble with the law. It was getting harder and my luck was running out. Then I was introduced to the homeless newspaper (Street Roots) in Portland. I had been trying many different ways to make a living. One day I went to the office, applied for the job, and got myself a stack of newspapers. Then I had to pick an area where I would stand and hold up a few newspapers for sale. When people purchase the homeless paper, vendors keep all the profits, and buy more newspapers at the print-cost. Now I’m calling Eugene home, and I work for the Vagabond. So please keep supporting our newspaper, the vendors need these jobs and I hope you enjoy reading it.

by Taz