By Dave DeLuca
You might think you know what homelessness looks like, but there are many layers to the issue. I sat down with Glin Kindred, a recently homeless single father, to explore the issues in more depth. He works split shifts and odd jobs in an effort to get ahead. He utilizes local resources and a valuable social network when he has to. He gets by. He gets frustrated.
Kindred sees other homeless in Corvallis who aim only to take advantage of the many resources available from the city, county, state, and non-profit organizations. They have little interest in improving their situations.
“Most of them are waiting to die. They don’t care, and that’s sad,” he stated.
Kindred tries to remain positive. He racks his brain for solutions to improve his situation.
“I applied for city scholarships. Got a Parks and Rec grant. And bought my membership to the Osborn [Aquatic Center]. So I can shower every day… More homeless people don’t think like that.”
Kindred sees local resources for the homeless as fundamentally flawed, if well-meaning. They lack the perspective of those they are serving.
“How can you expect this group of people to make decisions for this other group of people without knowing what’s really going on? We need more open forums,” he said.
The homeless population perceives itself as not being listened to or accurately represented. If one or both of the problems were improved, the behavior of the homeless might improve as well.
“The homeless population would feel way more inclined to do more things involving their city if they felt the city was involving them,” said Kindred.
Kindred does not like to be pigeonholed. The homeless population in Corvallis is made up of people. Some are sick. Some are lazy. Some take advantage of a generous community to the point of feeling entitled to services. Some, like Kindred, are just trying to get to a better place.f
“Not everybody who is homeless has zero skill levels. We’re people. We’re individuals.”