Portland homeless crisis ‘one of the worst in the country,’ thousands of tents, criminal activity a routine occurrence
The homeless population in Portland, Oregon is considered to be one of the worst in the nation with criminal activity becoming a routine occurrence in the camps – this according to a report by the Heritage Foundation.
The streets of Portland are lined with hundreds of tents that house the homeless. In addition piles of garbage, used drug needles and feces can be found in every camp.
The report states that a homeless encampment that runs along a 2-mile stretch of the Springwater corridor – had nearly 200 tents and about 500 homeless people – making it the largest homeless camp in the country. [at the time of the report]
The Heritage Foundation also reported that criminal activity has spiked and happens on a consistent basis – crimes that include attempted kidnappings of children to stabbings and even shootings.
Members of the community are left to clean up the camps and reach out to police for protection.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Portland was home to more than 15,000 chronically homeless people in 2019 with an estimated 23,000 public school students experiencing homelessness over the course of the year.
In addition, a study conducted shows that 35 to 40% of homeless adults in Oregon suffer from some sort of mental illness which is more than any other state in the country – at the time of the study.
Community members are demanding that local officials enforce camping bans on public sidewalks and in city parks and provide viable solutions to address the mental health and drug abuse problems in the homeless population which they say has become a major humanitarian and safety crisis.
The Heritage Report states that providing free housing is not a solution to homelessness saying it simply costs billions of dollars a year and fails to stop the growing crisis.