City’s Gentrification Policy Hurts Homeless Shelter Hunt

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Oxford Street Shelter for the Homeless, Portland.

It’s a common topic of conversation heard around Portland these days:  I don’t like either choice for a  shelter for the homeless population.

That is Angelo’s Acre and the property on Riverside Street that has raised so many objections  from the public. They could not be more different from each other – one hides the homeless  from view and is in a location without  access to their needs.  One of those needs is a sense of community and belonging so important to those who have been disenfranchised by the larger community.

The other site called Angelo’s Acre at the corner of  Commercial Street and Park Street would put anybody in physical danger from the heavy traffic passing by.  It may also need remediation to make it safe for humans.  Developers have not been clamoring to purchase that property for development – wonder why?

Developers have been scooping up property on which to build their high-priced condos – some purchases from the City itself.  No wonder there is no habitable property left in the city on which to build a homeless shelter.  And the city has itself to blame for this lack of planning.

“As once derelict or sleepy downtown districts in U.S. cities evolve into thriving hot spots, officials are grappling with what to do about homeless populations that have long inhabited them.  The tension is “all over the country,” said James Wright, a sociology professor at the University of Central Florida who has researched the issue.  “Its major effect is just to displace them to other places in the city,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, on January 2016.

The same article went on:  “While city officials, who often support redevelopment, face added pressure from new residents to address homelessness, advocates for the unsheltered say the response too often is to try to remove them from sight without providing adequate support……Homelessness has became a hot-button issue in recent years and the problems has affected mayors across the political spectrum, said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  The mayors of New York and Los Angeles have made it a priority.  Portland and Seattle declared states of emergency to tackle it.  Though the roots of the clashes vary a common theme runs through many.  The conflict between established homeless populations and new residents drawn by redevelopment.”  Right City Manager Jon Jennings?

PLAN AHE –  –

A vote for the final site selection by the city council is expected on June 17, 2019.

 

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