Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Trust You Can't Count On

I wrote the following piece and emailed it to 191 people in Oregon and beyond this afternoon. Already getting plent of reponses.

Subject: Fairview Community Trust

David McDonald
2225 N. Emerson St.
Portand, Or. 97217

I'm sending this to as many people as possible who would and or should
understand what I'm about to say. Some of you will probably get this more than
once, and some won’t see it at all. However; I believe it’s important enough,
that I’m willing to face any negativity it may bring my way. With that being
said, please, read on.

It's well beyond time, that a discussion about the future of people with
developmental disabilities in our country, and in the State of Oregon occur. I
won't go into a history lesson about this class of people, but I will say that
they have been discriminated against with little or no consequence for a long,
long, time. Once again, it’s looking like more discrimination is heading their
way. I believe it's also time that we put the myth that they are well provided
for to bed... once and for all.

I decided to write this after receiving an email alert from the Oregon DD
Coalition, which says the State of Oregon is suspending grants from the Fairview
Community Trust. If this is the case, the longer term idea must be that people
with developmental disabilities will either revert back to the days prior to
institutionalization, or will have to figure out some way to remain in the
community without the assistance they need. It's already in the works in other
states, where they're discussing opting out of Medicaid altogether. The Oregon
Legislature should be aware that this is already happening (over a dozen states
according to some accounts), including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Washington
and Wyoming. The Department of Human Services should also be aware of this
frightening trend. Shame on both bodies! Are we as a people THAT intent on
fattening the wallets of the uber-wealthy? I have to wonder "what's next?" Are
we headed back to a time of bleeding people to cure them, or debating whether
the Earth is round or not? Perhaps those who think this is a solution to
budgetary shortfalls should remove their roofs for the winter.

Both our national and state governments seem more than willing to sacrifice the
needs of millions to appease a handful of elites. Why? Where is the will of the
people in all this? Who, exactly, believes it's ok (in ANY sense) to deny people
the right to have a home that works well for them? If it's true that "The grants
have been used by hundreds of families and individuals to build ramps, improve
access to bathrooms, and other modifications that have enabled people to live
safely in the community. The agency is taking the money now and will attempt to
eliminate the trust in the next Legislative Session." (as the coalition
claims... and I believe them), it is our RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that
doesn't happen on our collective watch. It's time to stop allowing the
"bullying" of our most Vulnerable citizens, and make laws requiring the most
Invulnerable to pay their FAIR share in Oregon and elsewhere.

In closing, let me say that as a human being living in the State of Oregon,
within the United States of America that I'm not (and neither should any of you
reading this) asking, begging, or pleading that you do the right thing here. I'm


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Paying to Donate

I recently became aware of a need in my community, and decided to jump in and help. We have a charitable organization called the Oregon Community warehouse that gives furniture and housewares etc. to low income people in Portland. I've worked with them before, and was pleased with their responsiveness and willingness to help others. As a case manager I was able to get chairs, tables, beds, and everything you'd need to set up a kitchen.

Today I read somewhere that they are looking for matresses and box springs, probably to give to a homeless family who were coming in from the cold for the winter. I just so happen to have a full-sized matress and boxspring which are in good condition that I no longer need. Rather than trying to sell them (could probably get $30-$40 for the pair) I gave the warehouse a call; leaving a voicemail. 10 minutes later my phone rang, and a woman said she was returning my call. We agreed they'd come by and pick it up on Saturday. Then came the clincher.

She told me it would cost me $20 for them to pick it up.I'm donating something to them and they want me to pay them for doing so! I said; "You're telling me I have to pay you to donate to you? That doesn't make much sense." To which she replied; "That's how we do things now. If we have to pick something up, we charge $20." I told her to forget it. If it's not enough to donate something trying to be a good citizen, I don't think I can work with this new way of doing business. I mean isn't that double jeopordy or something?