Sunday, March 6, 2016

More than a Fence: What Gresham, Oregon is doing to the Homeless

Amber lives on the streets of Gresham, and she is tired of being harassed. She has been told to move four times in the last three days. She is a good worker, preparing meals at a local church for the hungry two times this week, and working in their clothing room every week.
"They are telling us, 'You know that camping is illegal in Gresham, don't you?' They told me that next time they see me they will arrest me for camping. Were are we supposed to go? I'm tired of being forced to move every day."
People should not be forced to leave unless they have a place to go. Sixty five percent of the homeless in Gresham come from Gresham. It is time for Gresham to take care of their own, and provide solutions, not abuse.

What else are Gresham and their services doing?
-Ticketing the homeless for sleeping (Gresham Police)

-Threatening arrests for camping (Gresham police)

-Verbally excluding people from the city (Gresham police)

-Telling the homeless to go to Portland (Gresham police)

-Refusing to put out a fire on a homeless camp (Gresham Fire)

-Refusing to allow shelters to be built in Gresham (City Hall didn't allow Human Solutions to build a family shelter in city limits)

-Bulldozing homeless camps (Troutdale)

-Fencing all of Gresham's part of Springwater Trail (Mayor of Gresham)

-Severe fines (over a thousand dollars) for those who camp there (Gresham City Council)

-Claiming to rely on JOIN, when they know that JOIN has no money until June 

-Denying their responsibility to help with any kind of social services (Gresham City Council) 

-Telling the homeless to move to the RedBarn (a church service for the homeless) which will be penalized if they allow camping on their property (Gresham Police)

-Sending monthly code violations/penalties to the RedBarn, without clarifying what should be fixed (Gresham Code Department)

-Claiming that RedBarn is responsible for the homeless in Gresham (Gresham police)

-Offering 30 days to pick up possessions, but throwing them away ("Unauthorized campsite" notice)

-Leaving notices to contact 211 for services, then claiming that Gresham has no overnight shelters, thus forcing campers to leave the city. ("Unauthorized campsite" notice)

Sending officers to the homeless who have been penalized for attacking the homeless (Officer Durbin of the Gresham Police)

Most of these happened this last week.

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