Knowledge is power – or translated for people with low and no income, knowledge + a voucher can get you a step further.
The truth is there are thousands deeply involved in helping people with low and no income, including those struggling with addiction and mental illness. Yet no well-designed, integrated, communicative tool systematizes this constant effort.
And it’s a bit of a puzzle why a tool hasn’t been created; in our information-precious world, where databases can be instantly uploaded, where needles are easily extracted from haystacks, where nothing is erased, lost or misled. Perhaps there is substantial redundancy and corruption which would discourage donors and foundations. Perhaps there is a veil of technological ignorance. Perhaps Portland’s social services is final unmappable problem. Perhaps the authorities fear if they made the system usable, needy people would overwhelming the available resources.
All bad reasons. Our suggestion: A local foundation should present a grant for an agency to create and maintain a useful map of Portland’s social service system.
Here are a handful of admirable attempts to corral this vital information.
Street Roots is a nonprofit, grassroots newspaper that assists people experiencing homelessness and poverty by creating flexible income opportunities. Through education, advocacy and personal expression, we are a catalyst for individual and social change.
Their resource list, Rose City Resources is available for sale (cheap!) on their web site or available online.
See – Street Roots Rose City Resources
211info.org has an excellent online database of names, addresses and phone numbers for various helping organizations in the metro area. Fairly up to date too. But contact information without context and helpful narrative make this info dump useful to those who already know their way but are too lazy to use the yellow pages. Perhaps their $35 printed directory is better, but more likely solves their financial problems.
See – 211info.org – simple search (advance search seems broken)
Online information from governmental resources are poor. The Multnomah County’s web sites are terrible. Clackamas and Washington County sites are worse. Various state sites try, but fail.
Do you know of a better resource list? Make a comment below and let everyone know.