Multnomah County government purchased more than 22,000 tents and more than 69,000 tarps for the homeless over the past two years.
Most have been distributed by the Joint Office of Homeless Services throughout the county at a cost of more than $2 million.
The purchases were intended to help the homeless survive the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing restrictions reduced shelter space. Other supplies to ease outdoor living included sleeping bags, blankets and other provisions. At the height of the pandemic, homeless camp sweeps were suspended on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“With public buildings, day centers, libraries, even coffee shops closed, and shelters operating at reduced capacity to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the JOHS used relief funds to provide emergency supplies to people to be able to survive outside until vaccines and reopening,” said county spokesperson Julie Sullivan-Springhetti.
Read the full story on the Portland Tribune, an OPB partner.