Regarding “Get at root causes” (Jan. 20, page 31):
There is a dire situation of homelessness statewide. According to an article in the Oregonian Nov. 23, 2016, Oregon has the highest percentage of homeless families with children not living in a shelter. Thus, the problem is not only drug, alcohol and mental illness related, it is also a problem of lack of living wage or a job for those families who cannot afford shelter.
Homelessness is more problematic in rural areas where little or no public or private assistance and support is available. In urban areas there are more resources, but we cannot expect that the homeless will automatically avail themselves.
In Medford, for example, there is Rogue Retreat that works with St. Vincent de Paul and other agencies in trying to make more shelter available as well as counseling and other social service related to employment and help for addiction and mental illness. If there is a problem of drugs or mental illness there needs to be an outreach effort to meet and encourage the homeless to use support services that may be available.
If every Catholic parish recruited and organized volunteers to work on the effort and provide outreach, much more progress could be made.