The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
This is a wonderful story about Jack Sharp, 77, and his wife, Fran, 64 and wheelchair bound – and the legal assistant who helped them find a new home.
A columnist for The Oregonian, Steve Duin, initially shared the Sharps’ story of pending homelessness in his April 10, 2010 column. Together for 27 years, many of them marked by hardship, they were living off $961 in Social Security benefits, renting a home for $325 a month, including utilities – and driving a ’79 Dodge van.
But Sharp doesn’t focus on their problems, which include serious health conditions and trying to live on a fixed income. Instead, he spends time helping to feed impoverished individuals, earning the nickname the “Bread Man.”
Jack is what the folks at Portland Rescue Mission and Blanchet House call a gleaner. When those urban ministries have excess donations, Jack loads them into his van and delivers it to the hungry and homeless in east Multnomah County.
“He serves a wonderful purpose,” says Patrick Daley at Blanchet House, “helping us get rid of a product we can’t use in a timely manner, and helping people who can’t get downtown. Jack is the only independent out there, taking food to the people out in the woods.”
But their kindly landlord died, and time ran out. The Sharps had to move by April 23 – and they had no place to go.
Now they have at least a long-term temporary home, thanks to legal assistant Maureen Alford, employed by Garvey Schubert Barer in Portland, who saw the article and brought the Sharps’ plight to the attention of one of the firm’s attorneys, Rick Baroway. Baroway does pro bono work for Community Vision, “a Portland non-profit that specializes in providing employment and home ownership for Oregonians with disabilities.” He contacted Community Vision on behalf of the Sharps, and the organization has a house available.
Thanks to Alford, Baroway, Community Vision and Portland Rescue Mission, the Sharps have a place to go, as well as help getting moved. Alford represents the legal assistant ideal – caring, resourceful and ready to help others in need.