The homeless camp at city hall plaza has evolved into a self-sufficient and supportive community since its opening late last week according to volunteers who are taking care of the needs of the residents and anyone else who asks.
Tents, food, water, clothing and medical attention are given to campers when they ask. Donations are pouring in from the concerned community, but the need is on-going according to one of the volunteers collecting tents for the homeless. More tents are needed because more people are showing up every day. “Thank you so much to everyone who is helping us provide for those who need assistance,” the unidentified volunteer said.
A homeless Scott Smith who has been living on the streets of Portland since he left the Sullivan Wellness Center at the USM campus, signed up for a tent and received one late this afternoon. “You don’t have to be staying here in order to get clothes, food, water or whatever you need,” he said. “It would be a disaster for the city if it tried to close this camp down. It would be a bad idea for the city to bring in a bunch of cops to clean it out. That would not be peaceful. We will fight back.”
Security issues and medical skills are also needed in a camp that houses people 24/7 and those concerns have been addressed by the organizers on site. One man had a seizure and Tyler Linscott, 27, called an ambulance for him. He was taken to Maine Medical Center where he was treated and released. Another man was “nodding out” on spice. He was given plenty of liquids and allowed to sleep until he recovered fully. Those instances were just this morning. Linscott said there are about 8 new volunteers every day and they need to be trained on how to deal with the public.
Linscott is so well-qualified to perform these responsibilities. He was trained in the US Army as a “security strategist.” In other words, he can take a situation and try to deescalate it by analyzing body language to determine if they are going to be aggressive or compliant in order to resolve the situation quickly and calmly. “We don’t call the cops. The point is to make this all legal in the city. We need help,” said the affable Linscott.
He received a year of training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in a super high tech training complex for Special Forces. He became a member of the Quick Reaction Force, (QRF). It was Linscott’s goal to become a Green Beret.
Rather, he served near Quwait in Iraq for two years where he took five rounds to his Kevlar vest and metal scrapnel to his right shin.He survived. Following that tour, he received a medical discharge because he had “flat feet.” “I’m on my feet all day here. They are fine,” Linscott said late today. (See above left photo of Tyler).
“This movement is so important … we are here to support this movement by lifting up impacted people with their fight. It’s important for them to have allies beside them to support them,” said Selena Sillari a member of the Poor People’s Campaign. The movement was begun by Martin Luther King. It is opposed to systematic racism and poverty. (See above right photo of Selena).
Please also read the posts herein dated April 10, 2020 about Scott Smith.
Please also read two previous posts herein on the camp at city hall plaza dated July 24th and July 23th, 2020.