After spending the better part of a decade homeless on the streets of Portland and Las Vegas, longtime vendor Ron Sanford has obtained the keys to his very own Old Town apartment.
“It’s beautiful,” Ron said.
“It’s a one-bedroom with lots of space. It’s clean and it’s quiet, I don’t hear a lot of traffic and noise outside.
“It feels overwhelming almost. At first I’m going to rest a little bit. My first few nights had a nice bath and got cleaned up, got a haircut.”
Ron got a haircut at Night Strike, a service for homeless individuals that meets under the Burnside Bridge on Thursday nights. He used to be unable to attend Night Strike due to the 7:30 p.m. check-in time at Portland Rescue Mission, where he had been staying.
Ron was able to obtain his housing voucher for medical reasons with the help of Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic and Home Forward.
“Health care is connected to housing, and it will save a lot of money in the end and it will contribute to me being healthier and having the stability to have housing,” Ron said.
“It’s awesome to have had this opportunity. I wish more people could have it. I waited 2 1/2 years on the Home Forward list, and that’s one of the toughest things, being patient and persistent. I’m just so glad for all the help I got from not only Street Roots, but churches, local charities and Central City Concern and Old Town Clinic. My friends and family have helped, too.”
So what’s next for Ron? He wants to keep enjoying life.
“I’m still playing Scrabble, still trying to get back into drumming, still writing.”
And, after spending years receiving the help of area social service agencies, he’s considering ways to return the generosity.
“I feel so blessed,” he said, “that I want to give back to the community in some capacity, like volunteering, even if it’s small.”