The mayor of the city of Portland in Oregon has a plan to combat the homeless problem in the city. He and his chief of staff, Josh Alpert have decided to allow the homeless to pitch tents, sleep in cars and campers, and sleep on sidewalks that aren’t high in pedestrian traffic.
According to the Portland Tribune, this is great news for the 1,900 homeless people who roam the streets every day and every night. The police make their sweeps every night to clean the streets up and they move the homeless people along to go somewhere else. However, now, according to the mayor of the city, the job for the cops will be easier since they will be allowing the homeless to pitch tents in certain areas and sleep in cars and campers in church parking lots and non-profit organization parking lots. He says this will help fight the problem the city is having with homeless people.
Oregon Live says there are certain areas of the city where the homeless will be allowed to pitch their tents and get a good nights sleep. They will be allowed to pitch a tent on city sidewalks as long as it is not a high pedestrian traffic area. The tents will only be allowed up between 9 pm and 7 am. They will also be allowed to sleep in their cars and/or campers in parking lots as long as the owner of the parking lot allows them. The type of parking lots the mayor is referring to are ones owned by churches and non-profit organizations.
According to the mayor of the city of Portland, Charlie Hayes and according to his chief of staff, Josh Alpert, this will be very temporary. They are only allowing the homeless camping in these areas to sleep in while they gather the money they need for making more suitable housing for the homeless people of the city. Once they do have the funding they need, they will be adding 10 to 20 more shelter areas for the homeless.
While this is going on, the city officials plan to educate the residents of the city about everything to keep the residents and the homeless people from fighting with one another. They will also have ways for them to have water, a place for their garbage, and storage for their belongings.
Oregon Live states that if this system works, Alpert and Hayes plan on asking city councilmen to formally adopt it for summer and/or fall.
Although this is a good thing that Hayes and Alpert are doing for the homeless people, because after all, they are people too, they are being mocked for it. According to Katu.com, someone posted signs in the public parks mocking them for it. The sign is saying there will be an increase in garbage, unregulated sex offenders, urinating and defecating in public, more solicitation, more crimes, and an increase in drug usage.
Although some people are against the mayor and his chief of staff’s plan as a way to help the homeless, a drug and alcohol counselor by the name of Iona says it is a good idea. She says that she walks up to many of them every day and asks them if they are ready to go into treatment for their drug and/or alcohol problem and some of them say yes and do go in. However, she says you can’t force them to get the help they need, they need to go in on their own for themselves, not for anyone else.
One person,Phil Schwyhart, a resident of the city, who doesn’t agree, thinks it is a trashy city with the nearly 2,000 homeless people who roam in it every day and every night and says it is not a very warm or welcoming environment. He says,
Turning a blind eye isn’t going to improve the situation.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]