Provide Homeless Population with Better Resources

Homeless_and_Cold_by_Ed_Yourdon

Target: Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

Goal: Provide better resources to help Portland’s homeless population.

Portland, Oregon’s rate of homelessness is out of control. The sudden population growth, skyrocketing rent and lack of resources and shelters has pushed over 2,000 people onto the street per night.

These men, women and children have taken to sleeping in tents, in parks and on sidewalks across the city. Though Mayor Charlie Hales has lifted the ban on citywide “camping,” it does not come close to what the city needs. The City of Portland says it is working with nonprofits to extend resources to those living on the street, but the mayor’s office has been unclear and vague about what these plans entail.

The Portland Rescue Mission cites addiction, domestic violence and mental illness as some of the leading causes of homelessness – all three of which require medical attention and counseling to treat. Portland’s nonprofits and shelters are already overwhelmed and too full to provide help to those who need it – and that number grows by the day.

A mayor that is willing to merely tolerate homeless camping and using parking garages as emergency shelters is not addressing the root of the problem, and Portlanders are suffering for it. Urge Mayor Hales to take more permanent actions and a stronger stance to reduce Portland homelessness.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Hales,

The Portland rate of homelessness must be reduced. As a result of population growth and unchecked rent increases, homelessness is putting over 2,000 people on the streets each night. While you have opened city parks and sidewalks for tent usage and “camping,” it is not enough. Tents do not provide adequate protection from the elements and food, safety and basic hygiene are all difficult to come by. Sleeping on sidewalks is not a solution to the overarching problem of homelessness and lack of resources. These people deserve better.

According to the Portland Rescue Mission, addiction, domestic violence and mental illness are among the top causes of homelessness. All three require medical attention and counseling to treat – difficult resources to come by, especially given Portland’s already strained resources for the homeless.

Take a stronger stance in your last term as mayor to eradicate homelessness. Stand up to rental housing alliances and landlords and hold them accountable for sudden rent increases and no-cause evictions. Consider using vacant city-owned buildings to shelter people who have nowhere else to go. Expand funds for nonprofits and other resources to address the causes of homelessness. Refuse to settle for sleeping bags on our sidewalks. Take action to end the cycle of homelessness in Portland.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon

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