West Coast Is the Best Coast (by McKell Barrett)

pasted-image-0I think that we can become desensitized to the homeless population because of how large that population is here. I spent 20 hours with them last term, and was introduced to a  lot of ideas that I didn’t know of before. Because of my previous experiences I was drawn to the family services theme this term, to continue my knowledge on this subject. Now, I want to know what attracts these people here, of all places? As I researched a little bit more into the locations and number of kitchens that serve homeless, I realized that there are way more than I was anticipating. I then got curious as to numbers. As I researched, I saw the severity of this problem. I saw what we were doing as a city to enable it, and what efforts are being done to help contain this issue.

Get Informed

Griffin, Anna.  “Our Homeless Crisis.” Oregon Live, January 17, 2015.      http://www.oregonlive.com/portland-homeless/. Accessed on November 22, 2016.

Oregon Live is a local news agency. According to this article, our population is sitting at just about 4,000 homeless individuals. It discusses their idea of the bigger problem of Portland, the housing problem. We might see this as high rent prices, or see it when we look at the traffic during rush hour. Along with this problem, we have loads of individuals struggling with mental health issues and no way to get help. This article is full of alarming numbers that give us the reality of this situation in our area and other cities in the United States. It mentions our biggest hurdles to solve this issue, gives real life stories and quotes, and includes pictures that capture moments perfectly.

Templeton, Amelia. “Portland Mayor’s ‘Safe Sleep’ Homeless Camping Policy Ends” OPB.org,  http://www.opb.org/news/article/portland-homeless-camping-policy-end-safe-sleep/ . August 10, 2016. Accessed on November 22, 2016.

OPB is another local television and news radio station. I have listened for years, and have heard many informative ideas and theories from this station. This article, discusses the law that Portland’s Mayor created which allows homeless individuals to sleep safely on the streets at night. Along with stating the fact that this will not be allowed any longer, you can read about why the law was put to an end. This article also includes photos and a verbal Q&A segment.

Larson, Laurie. “Rebuilding The Lives Of The Homeless.” Trustee 51.7 (1998): 8. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Another reason that this might be a hotspot for homeless, are the multiple forms of support that we as a city give. We have food services at numerous locations that give meals free of cost. We have shelters and offer other services to help those who are homeless to get their lives on the right track. I could not find an article related to a Portland homeless shelter, but I found one for one in New Hampshire, which described in great detail the con’s of a homeless shelter, such as on site health care, schooling, and life planning.

How To Help:

There are many ways to help this community a little bit. You can hop onto handsonportland.org and find a volunteer program that works for you, such as making cards for Meals On Wheels, or going on site to give your time. If you don’t have the time, you can always donate what money you can to a reputable fund. Lastly, is to raise awareness of this situation we have found ourselves in.


One comment

  1. Rachel Viera

    Hi Mckell! Great post. I think you’re right in that the majority of us living here have become desensitized to the homeless population. Your sources are great resources to gain awareness and what we can do in our own individual ways to help the problem.
    I would have liked to see a personal anecdote about your community service with the homeless. However, you overall post was strong and well written. Good job!

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