My Homeless Coworker

I was hired at a retail store at the same time as my coworker Ryan* back in June. He is a middle-aged gentleman with a clean appearance and usually has a smile on his face. He had just moved to Portland after taking a train up from Los Angeles because “the ticket was only $150, so why not?”. He had worked for the same brand before and came off as a well rounded guy. A couple of weeks later, I heard my boss talking to a manager about how Ryan wouldn’t be able to come in because of some issues he was having and then I didn’t see him on the sales floor for two weeks. Then one night, after work, my coworkers and I decided to go to a bar a couple of blocks away and through the conversation I learned that Steven was, is, homeless. I was shocked just because I suddenly felt so bad about the time I told him to try Masu, an upscale sushi place downtown. I felt weird because I knew that he had two undergrad degrees. I felt odd because he never mentioned his housing situation to anyone. But I realized that I felt off because I had stereotyped homeless people and Ryan didn’t fit that stereotype. He was educated, social, well mannered, well groomed, none of which made sense to my boxes that I put people in. It made me realize how anyone I encounter could be suffering from any sort of economic or personal problems and that I should work harder to exercise empathy and throw aside my judgement of others. In addition, it made me realize how petty my issues must be in comparison to others. At least I know I have a bed at the end of the night and know where my next meal is coming from.
Ryan’s returned to work, but it makes more sense now. He always brings his giant backpack into the breakroom and utilizes the refrigerator highly. I’ve also noticed that he only has two pairs of shoes. But aside from that, he’s like everyone else. He’s hoping to get a scholarship from PSU to get a Master’s in writing, which is his true passion. He’s made me realize that I can’t assume stereotypes from anyone because that’s robbing them of their identity. Talking to him and hearing his story (which is incredibly long but wonderful, he told me over a shared lunch break) has been an eye opener for me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

*Name changed because while we’re friends and coworkers, it would still be inappropriate.

Shayla Norris-York
August 19, 2018

Homeless Students

While homelessness is a big issue among adults, we tend to forget about the homeless children who are also students. As of 2017, 5.6%, or 1,509 of students kindergarten through 12th grade were reportedly homeless which is a 20% increase since 2014. In comparison, however, 56 students in Butte Falls, Jackson County, were homeless, which is over 30% of their student population.  
Each school district has at least one homeless student liason that ensure the students are getting a quality education despite lacking basic things like materials, transportation, or internet access. For the 2016-2017 school year, Oregon recieved a little over $500,000 to support its homeless students. This funding went towards clothing, transport, shoes, and school supplies.
Despite Oregon public schools ranking poorly in quality of education against other states, homeless students are most likely to do well in Oregon schools. This is partially due to school stability. When a child is listed as homeless in the school system, the administration works harder to keep them at that school even if the family is moving around a lot. There’s always more we can do to support our homeless students, but making sure they receive the best education is a good first step.

Shayla Norris-York
August 19, 2018

The Homeless Period Project

Anyone with a vagina has been in that situation. The one where you go to the bathroom and suddenly the reason you cried when Coldplay came on the radio and the culprit behind the breakout on your forehead all come to light. And while we think getting out period sucks, we don’t know how bad it could be. I’ve used toilet paper in a pickle, or napkins, but that’s just for a few hours. Imagine not having access to tampons or pads for your entire cycle. Not only do women have to endure being homeless, they have to brave their periods without proper products. Luckily, nonprofits like The Homeless Period Project (HPP) help supply those in need with period packs in a fun way.
While you can donate to HPP, they encourage their supporters to host period pack parties. Each attendee of the party contributes money that goes towards buy tampons, pads, liners, and feminine wipes. They then create little care packages and send them to HPP, which in turn distributes them. I went to a period packaging party at Project Object for Valentine’s Day this year and it was a fun way to give back! Maybe for your next social gathering you could throw one too!  

Shayla Norris-York
August 19, 2018

PDX homeless

Over the years, homelessness in the country has seen a steady pace of increase. While this is indeed sad idea, there are many factors that cause this single even in total. I wish to look at a few reasons why this even has seen a steady increase.
Low Housing Production by the State
According to an analysis of (Lehner), a graph that represents the current numbers of housing production across Oregon relative to 1998-2004 averages. It seems that all major points of Oregon have seen below zero housing production against comparison average. This factor is so huge it almost dictates the likelihood of homelessness in the state and may also be something we can use as a reference for homelessness in the country.
Low Housing Supply
While housing production talks about new manufactured houses over time, housing supply talks about all other aspects of housing in the country. The fact of the matter is that the country has seen a decline in housing supply because of the factors that used to be not the case, mainly because of the change of behavior of the current house owners. One point mentioned by (Fleming) on a analysis was simply, “existing owners aren’t selling their homes”. This one very important factor about the atmosphere of homeownership in country affects everyone involved into the market of housing. One person that is not willing to give up their house for a new one and the production being record low hurts the rest of the people concerned. The possibility of owning a house has become less because of these two factors, let alone more factors in the salad.

Higher Housing Rates Rentals

This becomes another effect of the two options being record low. Lower production of housing, lower housing supply because of how the market behaves then causes rental rates obviously to go higher. This would have been the last option a homeless man might just have since ownership has become an impossible choice, but this option itself has been removed as well by the first few things that cause a homeless man to lose his opportunity in the first place. Observing from the first two points mentioned this last point becomes inevitable. It is almost impossible not to expect the rental rates to go higher considering how the supply and production of housing has moved at a certain pace that puts rental prices to go to an almost no option road of shooting up. We wish to believe that there is a way to help solve the aggravating problem of homelessness across the country let alone in Oregon. But the cause is huge for us to find a way possible enough that everyone may agree. Hence, without actions, we watch the homeless grow in number by the day.
Works Cited
Online sources
Lehner, Josh. "Why Housing Supply Matters." Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.

Fleming, Mark. "There Are 2 Reasons Why The Supply Of Homes In The US Is Running Dangerously Low." Business Insider. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.

The streets

The Streets
While the world today shows many architectural feats, from skyscrapers to engineering wonders. The battle for homelessness ends a losing one in the streets of our country. Over the span of ten years the housing industry and its market has moved so much that many people are increasingly unable to play with and ends up in the streets
Low Rental Vacancies
It is almost common thought to end up renting if ownership is no longer an option due to price, the bigger challenge becomes the vacancies of rental properties. In a post published in 2015 (Hammill), it was highlighted that there are a number of factors that causes rental rates to go higher, one of them simply being vacancy. The fact that movement of people from California to the state has placed so much pressure on housing supply hurts the vacancy of rental apartments even more. The city is no longer able to cope up with the number movements and housing supply has no way to recover.
Low Housing Supply

In an analysis (Lehner) it was highlighted how the lowering of housing supply in the country and in the state of Oregon has simply become a major factor to homelessness in the state and across the country. This can easily cause many people to go the survival tactic route, head to the streets. The decision is simply out of the lack of choice. People lurk the city streets not because they genuinely want to be there, most if not all would have chosen to have a home but are unable to afford one. This is a simple conclusion considering how the market works around the people who can afford homes for themselves or for their families. It is easy to conclude that if the ones who can afford houses are having the kind of difficulty how much more the ones that cannot.
Increasing Population
If there is an obvious reason why people will be moving to a certain place it would be the economy. In an analysis published online (Vliet), it was almost a no brainer to move to Oregon state due to its more than double performance against the country’s own numbers in terms of economic development. The state has seen serious economic growth that it would not just attract companies and businesses, the next person to be attracted would of course be the workforce itself. This has caused the city to witness more and more people coming in to try and find work and/or businesses that can land them some financial benefit. More people coming in is a good reason why the number of street dwellers will increase as well. The first point being lower vacancy on rentals is because of the second point being low supply on houses in the state and in the country would certainly come from one solid reason, increase in population. This increase has caused and will cause future addition to the number of people in the streets who apparently are the ones in the margin of the economy who can no longer afford the amount required to acquire their own housing whether by rental or by ownership.

Works Cited
Online sources
Hammill, Luke. "Can't Find An Apartment? Oregon's Vacancy Rate Was Nation's Lowest, Data Show." N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.
Vliet, Amy Vander. "Oregon GDP Growth Ranks Second Fastest Among All States - Article Display Content - Qualityinfo." N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.

Lehner, Josh. "Why Housing Supply Matters." Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.

Amount of money

The Amount of Money
In this entry I wish to talk about the amount of money needed to acquire a home. Also how this amount can cause people to go homeless. As well as how homeless people become simply the collateral effect of a possible defect in the society in three points.
Low Housing Production
This is not a problem of the state of Oregon alone, it’s a national problem. With that in mind the idea is simply, homelessness in general across the country can simply be caused by one major factor, lower housing production. In an analysis (Fleming) published online, one good reason why the production of houses is going down is that home builders are succumbing to constraints which then results to underbuilding. Underbuilding meant not meeting the amount of the expected demand. The reason behind can be severely complex but at hindsight it can be concluded that though it may not be intentional, the home builders can earn more by controlling the amount of houses built than easily building more and more houses to meet the exact demand. This does not only hurt the Americans that can afford to buy houses, this ultimately affects the ones who can barely afford them. Why? Simply put, if the ones who can afford them are having trouble keeping up, how much more those who can barely afford them? They won’t keep up, they will simply give up and hence end up being homeless, bankrupt and maybe, devastated.

Higher Rental Rates
(Hammill), the article talks about the vacancy of houses in the state of Oregen due to the economic bubble. But one factor why the rental rates are getting higher is simply, the supply of houses available to the people of the city. As you can see the two points are severly interrelated, hence it should be safe to say that the rates are not high for no reason, something caused it and the something is one, the production is not meeting the demand, another is that the supply of housing is also not meeting the demand of the city (Lehner). This higher rental rates easily causes people who can no longer afford to keep a home to lose theirs and be homeless. One serious factor caused by the other and another.
Low Median Incomes

As crazy as it may sound, the 2nd fastest moving economy in the country apparently has lower median incomes compared to the rest of the country. While it is true that the economic movement of the state is good and all comparing it to its historical data ("Oregon State Household Income | Department Of Numbers"), it should be easy to assume that due to the bubble of people moving in to the state for work opportunities and business people for chances of putting up something that may be worthwhile has caused the income go down. This is true due to the fact that since there will be enough workforce members to be hired, the income can be the last thing to talk about as far as the average worker is concerned, the priority is simply to have something go on by. This mindset can easily cause people to be homeless. While there will be people who have below margin income who may be able to afford a decent shared apartment, those lower than that margin will go homeless and the amount of money is unreachable to avoid becoming a member of those who dwell on the streets.

Online sources
Fleming, Mark. "There Are 2 Reasons Why The Supply Of Homes In The US Is Running Dangerously Low." Business Insider. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.
Hammill, Luke. "Can't Find An Apartment? Oregon's Vacancy Rate Was Nation's Lowest, Data Show." N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.
Lehner, Josh. "Why Housing Supply Matters." Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Aug. 2018.
"Oregon State Household Income | Department Of Numbers." Web. 17 Aug. 2018.

LGBTQ Homeless Youth Resources in Portland

Portland Tribune: Jessie Darland-- Photo of Joey Whitnig, 29, who has been houseless eleven times since they were 18 years old. 

Many homeless LGBTQ youth have traveled across the country in order to access the services and resources that Portland offers. According to the Portland Tribune, roughly 40 percent of homeless youth in the U.S. are estimated to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer, though only 7 percent of overall youth identify as LGBTQ, according to a survey by the Williams Institute, an affiliate of UCLA School of Law specializing in such research and policy work. Portland's reputation as a liberal, LGBTQ friendly city has made itself a reputation of a safe haven for many youths who feel unsafe in their homes throughout the country. However, many risk losing their homes and security, ending up homeless. Running away due to family rejection was the top reason LGBTQ youth cited for why they were homeless, the second-leading reason being forced out of their home by parents or guardians due to their sexual identity.

Portland has some resources for homeless LGBTQ youth, such as the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center, connected to New Avenues for Youth in downtown Portland which opened in 2015. There is also Outside In, which started LGBTQ-specific programming in 1992. 

Violet Burell
August 18, 2018

Increasing Number of Homeless People Being Arrested

In an article by The Oregonian as well as an analysis by The Oregonian/OregonLive has shown that one in every two arrests made by the Portland Police Bureau last year was of a homeless person. In 2017, homeless people accounted for 52 percent of arrests, a number disproportionate to the homeless population, which makes up below 3 percent. The Oregonian states police arrested homeless people most often on property, drug or low-level crimes. 86 percent of arrests were for non-violent crimes, and more than 1,200 arrests were solely for offenses that are typically procedural -- missing court or violating probation or parole. This creates a cycle of criminalization, with 440 homeless people arrested last year being arrested more than 20 times since 1996. Together, they represent 20,000 arrests over time.

In an interview with Ted Wheeler on the issue, he states, "..This success and its resulting growth have come with some big-city problems, among them rising housing costs, concerns about safety, more litter and graffiti, and increased traffic congestion. More than anything else, I hear about the need to address our homeless crisis with clarity, consistency and compassion. In concert with my colleagues in Portland, Multnomah County and the Joint Office of Homeless Services, we've made record investments - driven by record business license revenues - on a compassionate and comprehensive approach to homelessness."

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw have both said that being homeless is not a crime, yet this trend has continued into 2018, the percentage of arrests outpacing last year's within the first three months. In regards to these growing numbers, the ACLU has launched an investigation as to whether Portland police officers are profiling people who are homeless.

Violet Burell
August 18, 2018

Multnomah County Tackles a Bed for Every Child

Author: C. Nealon

Multnomah County and the City of Portland took on a hard task and teamed up with Human Solutions to provide a bed for all children. When they started, they did everything in their power to make sure that this statement stayed true. Meaning that if they ran out of beds at the shelter then they would provide hotel vouchers to anyone that needed a space.

This no-turn away policy along with one of the shelters being forced to close made it much harder for them stay true to their word. Over time word spread out and people from other counties came to Portland where they heard about this amazing service. Eventually it was too much for Human Solutions to handle and its once no-turn away policy unfortunately came to an end due to demand.

While many homeless people came from other counties for this service, Katie in an OPB article also mentioned that this isn't the only reason why people are coming here. Some people also have ties to Portland. Even though the no-turn away policy is no more, Human Solutions is still trying their best. Please click the link down below to find out more. 

Human Solutions
Multnomah Homeless Services 

Tent City

Maddie Hunt
August 18, 2018

Living in Portland, Oregon not a day goes by that you do not see someone living on the street.  In covered entries to restaurants, on park benches, on the steps to your church...they're pretty much everywhere.  But, why there are so many is beyond the point of this article.   After our city declared a homeless emergency at the end of 2015, the city decided it needed to take legal action.

The city proposed a Safe Sleep Policy in 2016.  This policy was sanctioned in order to allow homeless communities within the city to camp on city sidewalks for a certain number of hours every night.  The point was to provide some rights to those without shelter in the city that can't make it to a shelter.  This provided a place for the 2,000 homeless people in Portland sleeping without shelter to get a safe night of sleep. This law was later redacted.

Still, Portland is struggling to find a place for all of those sleeping without shelter.  With the number of homeless individuals and families growing 10% from 2015 to 2017 in Portland, how can a city stretch it's resources to shelter some 2,500 people?