It's no secret that Portland's supportive services for the homeless have been in a downward spiral for a decade.
Despite the voice and influence of peer involvement, untold scores of millions have done little more than perpetuate the status quo. The human toll of this decade-long practice, 500 souls.
Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler enlisted and listened to peer advocates (including myself) in his run for office, and indications point to the continuation of this policy. History has shown that the role and impact of Portland's mayor-elect have been virtually nonexistent until being sworn into office on January first.
However, Mayor-elect Wheeler has already proven that he’s not afraid of being controversial. The early morning after his primary win, he held a press conference outside city hall, and wasting no time, his message was loud and definite, let's get to work.
Next, Wheeler began planning for an almost immediate physical presence within city hall, again, unheard off. And finally, despite his full-time state treasury job, he see's that he is included in ongoing high-level matters of critical importance to the city.
As a homeless and disability peer, the next thing I want to see from Wheeler is peer inclusion as his transition continues. And while I have faith in Wheeler’s promise of continued peer inclusion, I cannot help but think of the weekly loss of another homeless soul.