While many people are aware of America’s high rates of homelessness, many people look the other way when it comes to helping people experiencing homelessness. They complain about the number of homeless people they encounter on their way to work yet they do nothing to help these people who have encountered one of the hardest times of their lives. It is not only the citizens of these cities who turn their backs, it is the cities themselves. Cities try and send the homeless away to other cities and states so they don’t have to deal with the problem. Cities are buying bus and plane tickets for their homeless and sending them to places like Seattle, to lower their homeless population in their own cities. Cities also order police to sweep homeless tents on the sides of the roads, in which they rip apart the only place someone living on the streets can keep their belongings and have a somewhat dry place to rest their head at night. While many cities have shelters, they take months sometimes years to get a bed in and their supplies are limited leaving thousands of people, shelterless, hungry, and without support.
Bringing the issue close to home, Portland Oregon has roughly 620,000 people living on the streets, and that number is growing. While we have camps in Portland such as Right To Dream, many of these people experiencing homelessness live on the streets. However two days ago Multnomah County, in Portland Oregon has proposed a plan to help end homelessness. They are offering to build tiny homes in the backyards of houses who are willing to house a homeless family for five years. The tiny house would be built free of cost for the owner of the house, and in turn change the lives of a struggling family. By allowing a family to live in a safe and secure place for five years, they would be able to turn their life around, be able to get a job, their children would get an education, and most importantly they would be off the streets.
So if you live in Multnomah County in Portland Oregon, please apply to house a family experiencing homelessness or recommend this option to one of your friends who can. Not only would you be helping a family in need, but you would be aiding in ending one of our country’s fastest growing problems. If you do not live in Multnomah county, you can write your city counsel and propose this idea or a similar one such as building tiny houses on a plot of undeveloped land and making a community there, by doing so you would be helping homeless people in your community.
If you are unable to do both there are other options, such as passing out food, blankets, and clothing or donating to a homeless shelter.