I deeply appreciate your efforts to draw attention to the issue of homelessness in our community.
We do not know each other and to my knowledge have not had the opportunity to meet. You might not be aware that I have a long history of working to push our community in the direction of ending homelessness.
You are not the first person to engage in a hunger strike over this issue in Oregon. Such strikes have never caused long-term change.
I agree with all of the points you are advocating but perhaps your most ambious goal - to get the city to place a housing levy on the ballot this fall - would be doomed to failure. Sadly, neither our politicans, homeless advocates or the faith community have done enough to build support for such a levy. I want one. I wanted one years ago. But to put a levy on the ballot now would only set our cause back because the public is not ready to embrace it. It would be defeated in a fall election. We need to better educate the community about the rewards such a levy could bring.
The civil rights issues you have lifted up are serious ones and I agree that no one should be arrested for sleeping outside when we do not provide enough shelter. That is why we are currently allowing people to sleep at one of my two congregations. But sadly, our City Council is not ready to address the civil rights issues you raise. We will need the courts and other vehicles to move them forward.
I hope very much that you will end your hunger strike. Not because your cause isn't a just one - it is - but because you've done your part for now and voices like yours will be needed tomorrow and in the years to come.
Until now I have remained silent over your fast because you have not asked for my support and no one has requested that I comment. As a minister, however, I feel I must speak up now and encourage you to end your fast and address your health issues before permanent damage is done to your body.
My prayers are with you this day.
Rev. Chuck Currie