12-11-2017  10:52 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org; neighbors encouraged to volunteer and donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update: Dec. 4

Environmental Services continues to repair more than 3 miles of public sewer pipes ...

'Santaland' on Display at Oregon Historical Society

New exhibit features Santa’s throne, Rudolph, and elves from original Meier and Frank’s Santaland ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

Top 10 Holiday Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

Dr. Jasmine Streeter explains why pampering pets with holiday treats can be dangerous (and pricey) ...

Why We Need More Black Men in Early Childhood Education

Royston Maxwell Lyttle discusses the importance of Black male teachers in early childhood education for the NNPA ESSA Media Campaign ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

By Lisa Loving | The Skanner News

Housing activists shut down the Gresham City Council last week, protesting the closure of a major illicit outdoor camping area in a city that has very few homeless shelters.

Seven people were arrested last Tuesday and charged with disorderly conduct after testifying before the Gresham City Council on the housing Issue.

“I can tell you this,” one man told city leaders, “when you make things hard on the homeless you make them desperate — and then you do have community problems when people are desperate. Desperate times call for desperate measures, you can’t just shift it off on Portland or ship them off to Utah or someplace else.”

Another man told the Gresham City Council about his personal concern regarding homeless veterans. He described his project of renovating two East County buildings into a single-room occupancy hotel that could house 178 people — technically all the homeless people in Gresham, according to the bi-annual count which many people consider to be far too low.

“They’ve put out that all the veterans have found housing — they haven’t,” he told the Gresham commissioners.

“I hear a lot of people talking but I don’t hear a lot of people talking solutions. So I’m here to talk solutions,” he said.

Gresham officials say they are trying to catch up with help from Multnomah County, which is investing $130,000 in new services through the A Home for Everyone program.

They also plan two-person crews called "clean teams" who, Gresham officials say, will clean up dirty campsites as well as offer services to people trying to get off the street.

Meanwhile, the city of Portland’s housing crisis emergency plan has swung into place, with new guidelines allowing tent camping during certain hours and overnight car camping in certain church parking lots.

Portland’s plan also features heightened social services outreach to individuals who seem at highest risk on the street.

The emergency rules have been triggered by the lack of affordable housing across the metro area; an estimated 2000 people sleep outside in Portland every night.

Mayor Charlie Hale's office issued the homelessness toolkit last year, piecing together resources for affordable housing, and people already stuck on the street.

Hales’ chief of staff Joshua Alpert did not respond for a request for comment. The new plan is his brainchild and is built around four basic strategies:

  • Allowing people to sleep on the sidewalk if they don’t use any kind of tent or structure, only keep their bag out between  9 p.m. and 7 a.m., “on rights of way (other than sidewalks) and remnants,” with no group bigger than 6 people in any one location.
  • Groups camping together must obtain a permit from the City, allow the City to select or approve a “camp host” for the group, create and abide by a code of conduct and must provide restrooms and sanitation.
  • Groups banding together for vehicle camping must obtain a permit from the City, allow the City to select or approve the “camp host,” create and abide by a code of conduct, and provide toilets and sanitation.  Church parking lots will be allowed “when in partnership with City.”
  • The fourth leg of the emergency plan is already-existing shelters, and access points including 211info.org as well as calling 2-1-1 and texting 898211

Portland has also made available a gigantic shipping container for houseless people to store their belongings during the day.

And lastly, Portland’s plan offers a one-point-of-contact complaint system that gives the city flexibility in tracking complaints about the campers and compiling that info for analysis. 

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