Homeless “Helping” Response: Transaction or Relationship?

Earlier this month, I attended a professional conference in Portland, Oregon. I encountered many homeless people, so it made me think about my privileged role of flying to their city, having a safe hotel room, conducting my business and leaving. What can, or should, I do?

At the conference, I posted a request for how I could donate to a Portland organization that helps the homeless. It seemed like a decent thing to do. It would be a small way of acknowledging my connection to Portland, a city I have enjoyed visiting many times.

But a colleague from Idaho, Dr. Katherine Himes, offered a story that challenged my sentiments. Am I doing something just so I feel good? Is the transaction, arms-length donation what is really needed? Continue Reading