What are the unique issues facing homeless people in rural Oregon?
For nearly three weeks now, protesters have camped outside Portland City Hall, demonstrating their objection to the city’s anti-camping law as well as the so-called “sit/lie” ordinance. We’ve discussed these laws on our show in the past. On Wednesday we’ll update you on this story and expand the discussion to homelessness in rural parts of the state.
There are a few emergency shelters for people in towns like Bend and Redmond, but some choose to stay in make-shift camps like the one on China Hat Road, while others couch surf with friends. Homelessness is on the rise in central Oregon and the volunteers and shelter employees I spoke with today said they have seen an increase in homeless families in the region. One organization is focusing on the specific challenges of rural poverty to craft a ten year plan to end homelessness in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.
How serious is the homelessness problem in rural Oregon? Can the issue be solved in ten short years? How can local governments and organizations eliminate the barriers between services and the people who need them most?
UPDATE, 5/14/08 at 7:05am
You can download a statewide map (PDF) showing what various counties around the state are doing to end homelessness here.
- Pete Springer: Reporter for OPB News
- Christina Riggs: Director of the La Pine Community Kitchen
- Richard Berg: President of the Congregation for Nativity Lutheran Church in Bend
- Cindy Pasko: Director of community development for the Partnership to End Poverty
Photo credit: Pete Springer, OPB