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Working For Central City Concern

Central City Concerns owns and operates a great number of the transitional housing in Portland along with Hooper Detox. I have worked for C.C.C. for almost three years now and I’m among one of the only workers that haven’t discovered a dead body yet. Due to the fact that we at C.C.C. work with a large number of Portland’s mentally ill, drug addicted and homeless our employee and tenant turnover is high. Every time I hear of another body being found after days of sitting unnoticed, I feel as if we as monitors have failed that person. There are always signs before the incident that my co-workers talk about after the body is found. For example, There was a tenant in a building I was working for that we had caught drinking. Normally the management would take the persons keys only to give them back to the tenant after they got out of detox. In this case though the tenant didn’t want to go back into detox, so he was evicted, but management didn’t take his keys. Eight days later they found his body in the apartment overdosed on alcohol and pills. Later my co-workers talked about the change in his behavior, yet no one pulled him to the side and asked him what was going on. He was reaching out yet no one considered them selves qualified to help him. Our jobs are not to counsel it is not to prevent. Our jobs as monitors are just to clean up the after math.

I talked to a co-worker last Sunday who just found another overdose last week. He told me “you’ll know when it’s your turn to find one, there is something disturbing in the managers voice when they say come with me we need to open a door. After that you ‘ll. never be able to open another apartment without the image of that body again.” Talking to other co-workers that have found multiple bodies they just wrap it up as part of the job. I think that this is a major problem in my place of work .In this field of work, How can the loss of human life just be dismissed so easily? To me these incidents prove that in this line of work we the workers are not properly trained for these situations. We are not psychologists yet we are economically feasible.

I feel when they closed the Portland mental institution called damish; they needed to place the large amount of people that became homeless. Along with the jails being over crowded with the numerous amounts of drug offenses. Portland had to come up with a plan to place these people. These people would otherwise flood their streets thus C.C.C. was born. They took down town’s old hotels and turned them into apartments, then C.C.C. hired under paid and trained staff to monitor the doors and tenants. This way the state can help these people get on welfare or SSI and then charge them thirty percent of their checks for rent up to three hundred and sixty five dollars a month for a small roach and rat infested apartment. Most of these apartments don’t even have bathrooms.

I feel that the poor and mentally ill are being exploited at the taxpayers expense. Since the taxpayers are footing the bill either way, why have things been changed so these people who are unstable are no longer protected from themselves or others. People who have years of in and out of institutions are free to come and go as they please with no more supervision than our staff in their lives. I think that with the rising cost of medical that it takes to care for these people Portland tried to cut the expense through these means, but at what cost.

Even if you tuck these people away in housing the reality is the problem of mental illness or drug addiction is not going away. With the number of body’s we find that has a history of these problems, are we doing them any justice by giving them the freedom to harm themselves or others? We at C.C.C.are not qualified to do a job that should be handled by doctors or corrections. The solution is easy yet over looked why don’t they give these monitor jobs to people with the right qualifications or train us for the positions they have us working. The answer is transparent to me, then they would have to increase our pay. Until that time I predict that this problem will only worsen and bodies will continue to be hauled out of C.C.C. buildings along with the problem of keeping these buildings staffed.


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