In his March 4 column, editorial page editor Greg Kesich placed the spotlight on the homelessness situation in Portland and pointed out its root causes: (a) loss of jobs, (b) lack of available housing and (c) mental illness.

Although corporations have outsourced jobs overseas, employment figures have improved over the past six years. Regardless of a prosperous economy, the unemployment rate will rarely go below 5 percent. We must deal with this in helping the homeless.

Portland is attracting people from out of town and out of state. Thus, available housing is limited. We must deal with this and provide adequate housing. It is also our responsibility to assist the mentally ill and those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions

I, personally, can speak to mental health and depression. Five members of my family of six were struck by mental illness, and four were hospitalized for various periods of time.

While studying for a Ph.D in English, I was hit by clinical depression, which forced me to interrupt my studies. I was able to seek help and eventually resumed my studies. However, this time I chose psychology and counseling.

In coping with depression, many resort to addictions, such as alcohol and drugs, which help deaden emotional and mental pain.

“There but for the grace of God, go YOU.” And so, let us all volunteer in addressing the homelessness situation in Portland. To succeed in this endeavor, leaders need to step forward and work with the current leadership in addressing homelessness.

The rest of us can volunteer our time, our talent and our money. Isaiah and Jesus (Matthew 25:35-36) urged us to “feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless.”

Horace Mann told us: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Let’s all go to work.

Coleman P. Gorham

Portland