Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Homelessness in Portland

I've noticed more individual family homeless setups as I'm driving around.

One was very neat and tidy. (photo to the right)

Another was a makeshift affair that didn't last more than a day because it was on business property that had a reasonable amount of traffic. (photos below)

I'm conflicted on this. My heart goes out to those who are mentally ill but have been "freed" by the state of Oregon to live on the streets. And to those caught in personal circumstances (even of their own disfunctional making) that have alienated them from family and friends. And then there are those caught in the web of alcoholism or drug addiction who are too often a menace to those around them.

I have a younger friend in none of the above categories who has lived out of his car for three to four years now. He had a small reseller business for awhile that he had office space for and has done heavy day labor work. But, neither of them gave him the sort of income that could pay the high rent of a place to live in Portland thanks to Portland governmental policies that have vastly driven up the cost of housing. On the other hand, business space rent is low in comparison to living space. Actually, he could have lived very nicely in his business space (about $250/month).

I don't know what the answer is besides the government getting out of the way of housing/shelter construction. But, I personally like and support outreaches like Portland Rescue Mission and Union Gospel Mission. I wish more churches and Christians gave to expand those sorts of ministries.

My friend keeps neat and clean through places that allow him to use their showers and has found outreaches that provide meals when he needs them. The winter time is worst. I was out driving on one of the cold nights last winter, and my car heater didn't heat up warmer than lukewarm during a 40 minute freeway drive. So, a car provides some relief, but not a lot.

I was glad some churches opened their facilities on some of the colder nights and appalled that Multnomah County hasn't used the Wapato Jail facility for that sort of help or donated it to an organization that would use it to help the homeless. Instead Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury tweets out praise for organizations that actually do open their facilities though she let her facilities like Wapato sit vacant.


MAX Redline said...

Many of them are not from here. Portland/Multnomah County are so busy spending millions on homeless "services" that we now attract homeless from at least as far away as Ohio. Kafoury doesn't want to open the $60 million Wapato facility because it's too far away from the "services" that are mostly located in downtown Portland.So she claims. That the facility is equipped with a commercial kitchen and medical capabilities is apparently irrelevant.

T. D. said...

I went by the place where the "tidy" encampment was, and it's gone too.

Multnomah County should donate Wapato to an organization that takes care of needy people. I don't care if it's the homeless, those with mental problems, or any other sort of problem. People who give shelter to people in need could use that facility. It has the value of encouraging private giving care for the needy (which is usually done in a far superior way), getting government out of intense care since they do such a poor job of it, as well as meet real needs. I don't trust government social service assessments.

MAX Redline said...

Multnomah County taxpayers spend nearly half a million dollars each year to maintain Wapato as it is. The only occupants the place has ever had have been film crews. I agree that it could be put to better use, and I don't buy Kafoury's argument that it's too far from "services" - Tri-Met runs bus lines past the place into downtown. She just doesn't like the "optics": it's a jail! So leave the doors open. People who camp next to freeways won't care.

T. D. said...

What a sad person. Spending half a million a year but not helping the needy a whit. No sane person would mind living in a jail rather than being out in the winter elements. I know of a guy who was living in a storage shed this last winter until caught. And my friend who lives in his car would gladly take a bed in a jail building--even a real operating jail--on those bitter cold nights.

MAX Redline said...

I rented a storage unit for a time, and yes, there was a guy living in one of them for a while. I don't know if he got caught and run out or perhaps his circumstances changed. In any case, you have power in there, you're out of the elements, and you don't have to deal with the crazies sometimes encountered in the shelters. Those smaller storage units run around $100 a month, and there's a public restroom on-site. Way cheaper than renting an apartment or something, but you're not allowed to live in one because there's only one way in and out. Fire marshal frowns on that.

T. D. said...

The problem is that there are so many building code requirements and fees that only expensive "little" housing units are okay--like the spendy tiny houses. Or instead of tax incentives to develop Pearl District type expansions how about tax incentives to develop trailer parks instead of fines and punishments to keep existing trailer parks functioning.


"Interviews with dealers and price comparisons online found that single-wide mobile homes smaller than 1,000 square feet can be found easily for less than $35,000 per unit.

"Troy Davis, whose been in the manufactured housing industry for more than 30 years in Hammond, said he is familiar with the model home that FEMA uses for victims, which he described as a low-end mobile home. He said he could sell that particular model for $37,900, which would include delivery, "skirting" to cover the area around the elevated home, and air conditioning hook ups. He said the additional sewer and water connections would cost another $600. At that price point, he said, he'd still make a profit as a retailer."
. . .
"Davis added that the true cost of the FEMA model is likely around $20,000, and could reasonably be sold in bulk to the government for about $25,000.

"Robert Chambers, general manager of a national company Factory Expo Home Centers, agreed. He estimated the retail price of a FEMA mobile home to be between $15,000 and $22,000 — particularly because they can be bought in bulk. He estimated hauling should cost about $6 a mile for freight, and that installation would cost about $2,000."

And instead of family size trailers like FEMA is doing, also do single and couple size trailers.