Last night I had the Safeway Crew over to watch the world series. The Safeway Crew consist of Hollis, Steve, and Michelle. Hollis was a homeless Veteran that lived under the freeway near the Safeway in Springfield Oregon. Hollis spent most of his time in front of Safeway waiting for folks to give him their empty cans. He was befriended by Steve a star athlete in high school who was kicked out before he graduated for fighting. He was taunted. Steve is disabled and stutters. Steve befriended Michelle, a twenty year old woman who is Autistic. Michelle brought Ben with her, whom she met at the autistic school. He is nineteen.
A year ago the manager of Safeway kicked Hollis and Steve off the premises. I went to the manager and complained. I told him Jesus spoke over a hundred times in the market place. It was his church,and thus, it is my church. Jesus bid devout Jews to dine with the poor and disabled. He did not tell his followers to give money to a charity, or food bank, but, bring the disenfranchised into your home. I have been doing this for over a year. Thanks to the Rice Trust I have extra money from my SSI check to buy food to feed my guests while we watch the Ducks and Giants play. For awhile we had movie night every Sunday. Recently I had Michelle over by herself while I drew her hands. I had come to understand she needs the routine. She need a break from home, and enjoyed the peace and quiet as we watched her Barbie Movies about Magical Unicorns and what have you.
The manager of Safeway challenged me to come up with a solution. I handed him a two page letter where I suggested that homeless surrogates be sent to the Youth Farm to do voluntary work, because the General Manager of Safeway bid his employees to volunteer. I met him and about six other managers while I helped prepare produce for the food banks and kitchens. Not one employee did as their boss suggested. The Safeway Crew had been there several times.
Last night I talked to my friend Chris in New York. She is an avid baseball fan. While attending Mills College in Oakland she met the owner of the Giants who was a CEO of Safeway, a family business. Peter Magowan went to Stanford. Chris’s good friend was dating Peter who had a dream to own a major league baseball franchise. His kin are well known philanthropists. However, they need to invite the disenfranchised into their home for dinner on a regular basis. This would solve most of America’s problem, being, the rich have got to stop being afraid of those who are not like them, because, those people do not exist.
Chris grew up on Beacon Hill where her father had his medical practice. Chris went to the finest schools, but, due to her disabilities lives in a studio apartment in the Village of New York. In researching the symptoms of Autism, I highly suspect she has suffered from this condition that for almost seventy years was not diagnosed.
Last week Hollis told me President Obama passed a bill that helps homelsss Veterans find a home and get dental work outside the VA. Jon
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County is the only Oregon non-profit to win a grant under the Department of Veterans Affairs’ new Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program. The VA gave St. Vincent de Paul $125,000 to launch its “Coming Home” initiative for veterans and their families.
Nationally, the VA distributed almost $60 million in homeless prevention grants to 85 non-profits around the country.
In Lane County, St. Vincent officials said they would use the money in a variety of ways, from providing temporary financial assistance to funding intensive case management. The grant also will add to the non-profit’s Veterans Living Independently Following Treatment program, which offers transitional and permanent housing for vets.
The VA has estimated that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, according to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans. Census of homeless people, such as the recent one in Multnomah County, show that veterans make up a disproportionately high number of the homeless population.
The 2011 Point-in-Time homeless census conducted by Multnomah County, the Portland Housing Bureau and other agencies, found that, even though veterans make up about 9 percent of the county’s population, they make up 12 percent of its homeless population. Nationally, it’s even higher — about 20 percent of the homeless population.
The VA’s new grant program is part VA Secretary’s Eric Shinseki’s ambitious effort to end homelessness among veterans within five years of his promise, which was in November 2009.
Homeless Man, Cass Corridor, Detroit, 1973 – Photograph by Patty Mooney
Homeless veterans have existed since the Peloponnesian War. A mental condition that many homeless veterans share is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has also been known as shell shock, combat fatique, and during the Civil War, it was known as Soldier’s Heart. The signature wound of Middle East conflicts in the 2000s is Traumatic Brain Injury, from which many homeless combat veterans are suffering.
Homeless Iraqi War Female Veteran with Chihuahua at San Diego Stand Down, 2007 – Photograph by Patty Mooney
Estimates of how many homeless veterans there currently are on the streets of the US vary because it is difficult to conduct a census of the homeless population. Dr. Jon Nachison, one of the original co-founders of the San Diego Stand Down, believes that “it’s somewhere around 250,000.” “Close to 40% of the homeless are veterans,” according to Gary Parker, Program Director at VVSD (Veterans Village of San Diego). “With the influx of veterans coming back from the current conflicts, we expect those numbers to rise.” Parker himself was a homeless veteran for a period of time and now works with homeless veterans who have committed to a one-year program onsite at the Veterans Village of San Diego, formerly known as Vietnam Veterans of San Diego.
Magowan’s maternal grandfather was Charles Merrill (1885–1956), co-founder of Merrill Lynch & Company and instrumental in the formation of Safeway. Magowan’s father, Robert Anderson Magowan, was chairman and CEO of Safeway; Magowan’s mother, Doris Merrill Magowan (1914–2001), was a prominent San Francisco philanthropist. Magowan is the nephew of poet James Merrill (1926–1995). He graduated high school from Groton School, has a bachelors degree from Stanford University and a masters degree from Oxford University. He also did post-graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University.
Following graduation from Stanford, Magowan joined Safeway as a real estate negotiator in Washington D.C. He also worked as a District Manager in Houston, a Retail Operations Manager in Phoenix and a Division Manager in Tulsa. From 1976 to 1978 he was in charge of the Company’s international operations. He was elected a Director of Safeway in 1978 following the death of his father.
In 1979 Magowan was elected as chairman and CEO of Safeway. He would run Safeway until its poor performance led to it being the target of corporate raiders, resulting in acquisition by KKR acting as a white knight.
Magowan is also a director of Caterpillar, Inc., DaimlerChrysler, W5 Networks, Inc., and Spring Group, PLC. He is a native of New York City and was a Giants fan prior to moving to San Francisco; the team itself soon followed.
 Managing general partner of the San Francisco GiantsMagowan, along with a group of investors, purchased the franchise on January 12, 1993, from the previous owner, Bob Lurie. Before Magowan’s consortium stepped in with its offer to buy the team, Lurie had planned to sell the team to a group from St. Petersburg, now home to the Tampa Bay Rays. Magowan made his mark on the team immediately, signing free agent superstar Barry Bonds, a San Francisco Bay Area-native whose father began his career as a Giant.
Magowan is also noted for spearheading the construction of the Giants’ current home, AT&T Park (previously SBC Park and Pacific Bell Park). Previously, several initiatives to build tax-supported stadiums had been rejected by San Francisco voters. In December 1995, Magowan unveiled his plan for a 42,000 seat ballpark in China Basin, which would be privately funded – the first privately funded in over 30 years. The plan was passed easily by San Francisco voters, by a 2 to 1 margin. Pacific Bell Park opened in 2000, replacing the oft-criticized Candlestick Park. Since AT&T Park opened, the San Francisco Giants have been at the upper top half of revenue-generating teams in Major League Baseball.