There’s around 800 children – from infants to teens – who are homeless in Lincoln County. Many don’t have families. But for those who go to school can at least get a breakfast and a lunch. Two out of three square meals can keep them going. But being homeless and “outside mainstream living” takes a terrible toll on their self-esteem and sense of worthiness.
Lincoln City Warming Shelter manager Amanda Cherryholmes asked county commissioners for their support because “the homeless situation is going to get much worse before it gets better.” She said there are three times the number of homeless on the streets and sleeping in the bushes of Lincoln County than in 2015. “The problem is getting worse and people are starting to die.” Cherryholmes said a homeless fellow that came in regularly for clothing, food and other necessities was forced to sleep outside in the wind and rain one time too many. When found suffering from severe hypothermia he was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
Cherryholmes says they have a homeless resource center at the old Taft Fire Hall on SW 48th at the south end of Lincoln City. She says they have helped hundreds of homeless individuals and families. At the shelter the homeless can get clothing, food, toiletries and obtain personal I.D. She says many of those looking for work benefit from their services because the homeless facility keeps track of job listings and use that knowledge to get a homeless person back on his or her own feet.
Cherryholmes told the commissioners that the homeless crisis is still growing. There’s no end in sight. And for that, local governments must step up to the plate and help. The commissioners seemed amenable to her plea and said the request comes at the right time – right when all government entities are putting together next fiscal year’s budget. They also sought closer coordination with other local governments to enlist their support.