Portland Pearl Rotarians' emphasis on homelessness continues Tuesday, June 7, when the club honors the Street Roots organization with its annual Community Vision Award.
The 7:00 a.m. breakfast and program will feature both Street Roots Director Israel Bayer and Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury addressing the question, "Fixing Homelessness in our Hometown."
Rotarians and guests will also hear a brief testimonial from one of the Street Roots newspaper vendors, Sandra Hahn, on how the opportunity to sell the weekly newspaper paper has helped turn her life around. Bayer will accept the PPRC award on behalf of Street Roots.
"Pearl Rotary has tried to play a part in helping the homeless through serving and preparing a monthly meal for men at Transition Projects and more recently in supporting p:ear's outreach to homeless youth," said club President Lori Beight. "Congratulating Street Roots reinforces Rotary's parallel mission to make a difference in our community."
Street Roots vendors sell newspapers in the Pearl at locations including Albina Community Bank, Powell's, REI, Lovejoy Bakery and Pearl Bakery. The organization's mission "creates income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty by producing a newspaper and other media that are catalysts for individual and social change."
"Thanks so much for this opportunity," Bayer said. "We are so excited about this and very humbled."
Kafoury, the commissioners' chair, has a long history of helping families in crisis, starting as a child watching her mother open their home to women escaping domestic violence, and continuing as a Multnomah County commissioner with her work to help families stay in their homes.
More recently, she has made good on her priority to fund housing and homelessness services. She has proposed eliminating 118 beds from the Inverness Jail and asked departments to take a 2 percent cut as an effort to spend $10 million in general fund money to help the homeless.
“The greatest challenge we face,” said Kafoury in her March 18 state of the county speech, “is how to address the housing crisis in Multnomah County.”
The Rotary event begins with a breakfast buffet in the second-floor conference room of the Ecotrust Building, 721 N.W. 9th, at 7 a.m. The program starts at 7:30 a.m. and is set to end at 8:30 a.m. Admission fee for Rotarians and each guest is $10.
RSVPs are necessary and seats can be reserved by emailing the club’s vocational service director, Matt Mahaffy (firstname.lastname@example.org), or committee members Don Barney (email@example.com) and Erika Wrenn (firstname.lastname@example.org).