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City Council Testimony, Oct 3, 2018

Elliott Young, Annette Johnson, Leo Rhodes, Kimberley McCullough and Sarah Iannarone

5 Things the City Can Do to Respond to Homelessness with Compassion

 

1)   Develop a robust group of first-responders who are trained to deal with mental health and addiction crises who would be the ones to connect people living on the streets with services.  These first-responders could also address livability issues like needles in parks, garbage in neighborhoods, and low-level theft if victims did not want to involve the police.

 

2)   Declare a moratorium on sweeps of homeless camps. Until we can offer adequate alternatives, sweeping people from one part of the city is just an expensive and harmful way to deal with the housing crisis.

 

3)   Provide basic services for hygiene for people living on the street, including restrooms, water, and garbage disposal.  Many of resident complaints stem from the lack of adequate infrastructure for people living on the streets. Addressing basic needs will solve a great part of the problem.

 

4)   Legalize temporary camps on city-owned property, as well as providing services to make them clean, safe and viable. There are already successful examples of city-sanctioned camps so let’s expand  this model.

 

5)   Track arrests of homeless people, publish data on a city website, and hold responsible parties accountable for achieving a drastic reduction of arrests.  We should not have to rely on the investigative journalism of the Oregonian to learn basic facts about how the city deals with its homeless population.