Information released this month by Portland officials revealed that the city’s effort to place roughly 100 homeless individuals in shelters or affordable housing cost taxpayers $65,000 and resulted in just 18 people accepting the offer.
Nonprofit groups, in partnership with the city, staged a table outside of the Fore River Parkway encampment for several weeks before it was swept and cleared on Sept. 6.
City officials never revealed exactly how much the efforts to provide taxpayer-funded services to those homeless individuals cost.
But buried in a draft of an emergency declaration related to Portland’s encampment crisis considered by the City Council Tuesday, was the revelation that the city had spent more than $65,000 attempting to offer the almost 100 individuals housing.
That figure does not include the cost of staff time dedicated to the effort.
Just 18 of those nearly 100 homeless individuals living in the encampment took the city up on its offers of services and housing — making those that refused housing not involuntarily homeless under the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals definition.
Portland’s Director of Health and Human Services Kristen Dow told the City Council on Sept. 6 that the ECRT had held three “housing fairs” at the Fore River encampment from August to Sept. 6, meeting with a total of 24 unique individuals from the encampment to offer them housing.
Dow’s goal, she said, was to offer everyone in the Fore River encampment housing several times before the sweep — a goal which she told the Council was achieved.
Homeless advocacy groups protested Portland’s policy of encampment resolutions after the Encampment Crisis Response Team (ECRT) swept the Fore River Parkway encampment on Sept. 6, with some speakers demanding that the city officially sanction a homeless encampment.
Speakers also accused Dow of spreading misinformation about the availability of shelter space and how many beds were actually offered to the people living in the Fore River encampment.
The City Council is considering relaxing certain building ordinances and fire codes to add an additional 150 bunk beds to the city’s Homeless Services Center, a project estimated to cost over $130,000.
After hearing concerns from numerous members of the public at the Tuesday evening encampment workshop, City officials now say they are working on a new proposal for consideration early next month that would expand shelter capacity by a smaller number.