If a person can have a safe, warm and dry place to sleep, to eat, to bathe, to live, they can start to rebuild their life.
There are many types of homeless, and housing and support solutions to be addressed individually. Some homeless are healthy people who have fallen on temporary hard times, others have substance abuse issues, some are youths passing through, some have moderate to severe mental health issues. Some are short term homeless, some are chronically homeless. Most have few family connections.
Our homeless need a place that will give them dignity, privacy and a place they can call their own. We have built homeless housing, maybe for 100, maybe for 200 at a time. We have built some shelters. The projects take years from initial idea to occupancy. The units cost a lot, too much for a constant flow of new units to happen. Thousands still remain on our streets.
Housing the homeless begs for innovation, for solutions that will greatly increase the quantity of housing for our homeless and people in need. We should consider tiny houses, cottages, rehabilitated motels, plug and play modular, traditional modular, traditional homeless housing with support services. Per unit costs should be reduced with smart thinking and repetition.
We need to 'connect the dots' - get everyone coordinated. Yes, we will need more funding, but we can do other things as well to maximize our positive impact on homeless housing.
This was a person outside Stuart Emmons' office on Portland's 12th Avenue during the Great Recession in 2010.