It’s Hard Out There, and Camping Bans Don’t Help

Last week, Portland City Council voted 4–1 to criminalize homelessness and push community members into mass camps – an inhumane, unproven, and short-sighted solution. (Many thanks to Our Just Future board member Jo Ann Hardesty for listening to advocates and experts and casting the dissenting vote.)

It’s long been Our Just Future’s position that camping may be the only place folks have to sleep at night, and we believe they have that right – until as a community we can ensure everyone’s access to housing.

A senseless, harmful ban like this – rushed through during election season – couldn’t come at a worse time:

Regardless of this harmful ban, effective work in support of people experiencing homelessness continues in our community of experienced service providers. So many organizations could use support right now to help folks get into the long-term, stable housing we all deserve:

  • Our friends at Street Roots consistently show up for folks living on the street (not just when the mayor threatens to sweep unsheltered people).
  • Blanchet House did a great service for us all by hosting a town hall highlighting the voices of those experiencing homelessness ahead of the City Council vote.
  • Many of the organizations in this year’s Give!Guide Home category networked publicly and behind-the-scenes to advocate for a more humane and effective outcome – including the Our Just Future team, which fought for the 20,000 affordable housing units the city has now promised.

Truth is, YOU can impact the way services are provided in this region. Vote with your dollars in a way that’s meaningful to you. We mean it when we say even $10 is powerful. We know it’s a privilege to have funds to donate, so don’t forget you can also share our cause with others to help boost support.

Thank you to all of you working in your own ways to bring about compassionate change.