The following are some of the reasons why people have endorsed our campaign.
While I am fighting hard to secure more state resources for transitional and permanent supportive housing and behavioral health services, I applaud local initiatives like this to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, Chair, Oregon House Committee on Human Services and Housing
We need to focus on compassion, de-escalation, and harm reduction when we are serving people in crisis. We need to be better prepared as a whole community to respond to crisis and that includes knowing when to seek assistance and who to call. We need to be smarter about how we use our resources — armed police officers are not the appropriate response for many of the calls received by 911. This response plan would be a huge step in the right direction.
Chloe Eudaly , Portland City Commissioner
It makes so much sense!
Mary C. King, Professor of Economics Emerita, Portland State University
Business for a Better Portland (BBPDX) is committed to prioritizing the housing and homelessness crisis, not only because it is a humanitarian imperative but also because it is essential to the future success of our city and businesses. As business owners, we pay close attention to returns on the investments we make in our business. All of the available data shows the tremendous cost of relying on our law enforcement officers to perform these duties, both in terms of financial burden and resource drain. Investing in a Portland Street Response system will not only provide more effective results and free our existing first responders to perform their other critical functions in our city, it will be more fiscally effective as well.
Business For A Better Portland
This is a concrete and compassionate approach to support people experiencing homelessness.
ROSE Community Development, Nick Sauvie, Executive Director
Law Enforcement Officers need to focus on just that and be liberated from duties for which they are not reasonably dedicated to, namely social work and mental health responses. It is unfair to Police, District Attorneys, jailers, and to citizens to continue with our broken system of having people call 911 and police sent to handle what are fundamentally Health issues. We wouldnt send a plumber to fix our roof, why do we send an officer to address health, mental health, emotional and addiction challenges?
Home Forward, Michael Buonocore, Executive Director
I am a retired nurse educator. Approaching people without invoking fear is the best way to dialogue and achieve good outcomes.
Susan Schoenbeck, Retired
We support the Portland Street Response because we have seen our library patrons (who live outside & at the margins) face a disproportionate share of hardships on the streets. They deserve compassion and respectful service from a response team, and not punitive action against them by police.
Street Books, Laura Moulton, Executive Director
This is both humane and fiscally responsible.
We see the impact of trauma from living on the streets in many of the people we house, including the trauma of experiencing law enforcement intervention when behavioral health and medical attention is what was really needed.
Walk-the-Talk Council of Believers, Reverend Sage Justice
Homelessness and personal crisis is a social problem, not a crime. We should response appropriately.
Because we need a way to respond humanely to our houseless crisis that doesn’t just shuffle people around or dump vulnerable people in need in to our criminal justice system.
People on the streets need help, not arrest and punishment.
Karl Studnicka & Emi Oshima
This is a much needed, compassionate plan!
I’ve been poor my whole life. More than that, I’ve been homeless on the streets of Portland four times. A police response to houseless citizens criminalizes poverty. I recently read somewhere the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.
I have been at the table with folks with lived experience, social service providers, police, Clean & Safe and private security, residents, businesses and institutions for many years. This proposal is the most common sense, COST SAVING, EMPATHETIC proposal I’ve ever seen, based on very strong emperical evidence of a program that’s been live for 30 years. Concerns of scaling are never mentioned when the private sector wants to do so. Very encouraged that Mayor Wheeler has listened and responded with a good first step in his proposed budget. Let’s do even more by figuring out how to privately fund this even more – using an approach used elsewhere called Social Bond Funds.
Houslessness is a public crisis and NOT a criminal issue.
Jess Noël Parker
Because human problems require human solutions, and criminal problems require a law enforcement solution.
First responders need to be available for true emergencies. Individuals experiencing homelessness and/or a behavioral health crisis need to be treated with respect and compassion.
I have worked in housing and treatment services for people experiencing chronic mental/ physical health/addiction issues. I also have family members who have been homeless. I know the profound impact that legal barriers to housing, employment, etc can have on a person’s chances for improving their life. This plan is essential to reducing these barriers and not sentencing people to a lifetime of lost chances. Our houseless neighbors and those experiencing these related challenges deserve dignity, respect, and chances for a better life.
Lauren Stoner, Social Worker
As an individual and a business owner I see the homelessness crises as something that needs creative new solutions. I feel the plan offers that.
Erica Lurie, Owner, Garnish Apparel
I’d like to see more helpful, meaningful support for my unhoused neighbors
At Human Solutions we work with people experiencing homelessness and mental health crises every day. We know that a new system of trained, knowledgeable, humane first responders that people experiencing mental health issues and/or homelessness will respond well to is needed in our community as soon as possible.
I could not express the case for this campaign better than SR has done in its own opinion pieces.
What we’ve been doing isn’t working. This sounds like a well thought out plan I’d like to support. Frankly, I’d trust any recommendation by Street Roots regarding the issue of homelessness and services required.
Mental illness, addiction, and homelessness are not crimes, and it’s wildly inhumane to treat them as such.
What we are doing now is the definition of insanity. It is not working and it is very expensive. I support getting people the help they need and allowing police to do their job — fighting crime. This plan has worked in Eugene — let’s give it an opportunity in Portland.
The police are not trained and do not do a good job managing these issues
It’s an effective and economical idea – it works for Eugene, Oregon and we need it here in Portland, big time. Our police officers have demonstrated an INABILITY to de-escalate and assist those with metal health or addiction issues. Let’s treat folks like HUMANS and get this going.
Elizabeth Baumwirt, Metal Fabricator, Deform NW
Because I see our crisis everyday.
Every Friday night for more than 15 years, Rahab’s Sisters has created community through radical hospitality on SE 82nd Ave. Many of the women and gender nonconforming folks who come to Rahab’s are experiencing homelessness and live in camps or cars where they frequently have the police called on them. We witness the ongoing stress and disruption this brings, as well as the impact of arrests for minor offenses like missing a court date. We also see the lack of support for folks struggling with mental health issues and the dehumanization of people dealing with substance use disorder. These are beloved members of the Rahab’s Sisters community, and they like all folks experiencing homelessness, mental health crises, and substance use disorder deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion by their city.
Rahab’s Sisters, Anneliese Davis, Executive Director
Mental health crisis calls need de-escalation and medical care, not gun slingers.
A key tenant in our building decided not to renew their lease due to the unsafe feel of the neighborhood. They cited the many people in crisis on our streets.
Tom Clark, Co-owner, Flanders Properties LLC
Thoughtful plan that speaks to the complex nature of helping homeless women and men who may have mental health issues and have limited capacity for self-care.
Naomi Dagen Bloom & Ron Bloom
This campaign is a well organized effort to reduce police interaction in unnecessary situations, will undoubtedly increase safety and community engagement.
We need this type of team approach that treats the houseless as people in need rather than criminals.
Katharine Ballash , Teacher, Reynolds S.D
This approach wins across the board. Most of all, people in crisis will get help instead of interactions that increase their trauma. There are financial benefits, too: when we treat people with dignity, we avoid long-term costs of expensive trauma-related care, and our 911 system gets to work as intended. It’s the right thing, and it’s the smart thing.
I am trained as a (secondary) emergency responder in my Sunnyside neighborhood. I have looked over this plan and it is logical and sensible and needed.
Jan Molinaro, Sunnyside Neighborhood Emergency Team Assistant Team Leader
Let’s give everyone the support and care they need instead of treating everything like it’s a crime. We need caring first responders, not guns and handcuffs. Even law enforcement agrees that this is the right thing to do. And we can’t wait 3 years. We need this support now. Funding a Street Response would drastically cut down on the calls to the Portland Police. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Tiana K. Wilkinson
Portland Police are overwhelmed and understaffed. Let’s use the police for serious crime prevention.
We desperately need to build community-based programs to support the safety and health of our residents, including our unhoused residents. Police are inappropriate responders to houseless issues, as well as mental heath and addiction issues. Vulnerable people who need help should not be exposed to potential police violence or be funneled needlessly into our criminal legal system.
Madeline Carroll, SURJ PDX
Our clinic is home to many people who are houseless, as well as many people with moderate to severe mental health issues. It is not uncommon for our patients to have a history of negative interactions with police. Many of our patients fear the police, and would not seek out their services in emergencies. This often leaves them with little or no resources when they have an emergency. A street response campaign including non-police emergency crews and peer support would offer my patients as well as many others in the city a welcome source of support that feels safe and welcoming, significantly reduce health disparities, and catch many prople falling through the cracks in our health care system.
The Equi Institute , Angela Carter, ND Sacred vessel medicine and the Equi institute
As a mentally ill individual I do not feel police are competent to serve the needs of the community. I do not feel safe with police serving this role for myself, other people with mental illness and/or addiction issues and/or homelessness.
Nikkol Z. McMahon, Peer
Our unhoused people deserve compassion and our police deserve to do the job for which they have been hired. Criminalizing homelessness is what the police know how to do. We can do so much better. We must have this new system of first response, for the future of everyone in the city.
Dr. Karen LaBonte
I support informed, compassionate street outreach to complement and support stretched public services.
Michaela Ledesma, Director, Build Up
My wife and infant daughter were once threatened by a woman who clearly needed medical attention and oversight. We really didn’t want to contact police because we were concerned about the woman’s safety. Eventually we did because we didn’t see an alternative and she appeared to be a danger to others. The PPD stated that the threat wasn’t specific enough and that there was nothing they could do. I saw the woman on the street 4 hours later, still raving and despondent. There has to be a better way.
Eric Mullendore, Portland Resident
In my line of work I’ve often wanted crisis intervention support and the only option has been to call the police.
Kelsi Villarreal , Qualified Mental Health Associate with ColumbiaCare Services
We need real solutions that support all parties involved. Police are stretched too thin, homeless aren’t getting the compassionate care that they need and residents are suffering a burden of needles and human feces in their parks and streets. I love this plan as it’s a practical solution to a real problem.
Faith leaders united across the greater Portland area calling for police reform, and a practice of compassion and respect for all in our streets
Rabbi Ariel Stone, Convener, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
I want to advocate for compassionate response.
Times have changed and the police can’t be expected to address this endemic problem. They are too busy. Plus and more importantly, experiencing homelessness is not a crime. Better to treat the issue and the people experiencing homelessness with kindness and practical solutions rather than force.
The campaign will provide urgently needed resources to address homelessness in a humane way.
Because the people living on my neighborhood’s streets are my neighbors, and they deserve trained, compassionate responders when they’re in crisis. The Street Response Plan would provide that for them without relying on the PPB, whose responses justifiably make houseless Portlanders think twice before calling for help.
Because it’s clearly the right thing to do.
It can reduce fatalities that are sometimes caused by a police response. It is a more compassionate response that treats the issue as a health crisis, which most of the time it is, rather than a criminal one.
Because it makes sense.
I would love a way to help folks in crisis without police intervention, which escalates situations and traumatizes the people it is supposed to help. I think it’s important to have people trained in deescalation who can respond to these calls.
Ashleigh Brantingham, Marketing Coordinator, Powell’s Books
It should not be the police’s job. They are bad at it because it was never what they were intended to do. The police are not here to help with trauma…
dwayne hedstrom, self employed
I have been a supporter of Street Roots and paper buyer at several different vendor locations for approximately 10 years. In that 10 years I have formed good friendships with with five or six vendors, unfortunately three of which have died. Currently our Social Action Team at Central Lutheran Church has officially invited C.W. Witt to be our “in house” Street Roots vendor on Sunday mornings. It is a joy to have C.W. with us every Sunday morning. Also as a member of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty (www.allianceonpoverty.org) I strongly support the Portland Street Response campaign. I have contributed monetarily to Street Roots through the Annual Breakfast fundraiser, periodic personal contributions and buying multiple copies of the weekly paper to distribute elsewhere.
Fraser Rasmussen, Social Justice Coalition member Central Lutheran Church, Portland
It represents a commitment to change, a reasonable change to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.
Cara Rozell, DO, Physician
It is a better way to deal with issues for those on the street. Police are not able to provide what is needed and police involvement leads to criminalization of the homeless.
The problems experienced by people living on the streets require a professional yet compassionate response from the City.
David Groff, Emeritus Administrator, Linfield College
It isn’t fair to those needing services or the Portland Police who are unable to do their job currently due to the homeless crisis, which is likely to only get worse in the next year or more.
Our neighbors fighting to survive on the streets deserve more compassion and a better shot at getting on their feet. Our current, costly, ineffective response only makes their situation worse, which is terrible for our entire city.
Rachel Langford, Assoc. Director, Education Systems Alignment; Home Forward
Because poverty & mental health issues are not crimes
As a mental health therapist and educator, my work includes building relationship and hearing the stories of people who are on the margins- houseless, in transition, or walking the fine line of poverty. I have heard too many stories of times when valuable police resources were employed, where the Portland Street Response could have been a more appropriate and helpful response.
Hannah Green, Mental Health Therapist, Adjunct Faculty
I see the overwhelming suffering and the need for new ways to care for those who are in need of assistance with compassion and skill.
It is a realistic, and optimal approach to low level issues that do not require tying up valuable police time and resources
Paul Hanrahan, Metrology Analyst Precision Castparts Corp
It makes sense.
Trish Claffey, Hospital Pharmacist, Providence Portland Medical Center
Better use of resources! Allows police to focus on protecting & solving crimes.
Homelessness is not a crime, nor is mental illness. It is vital that the correct services are dispatched to respond. Our police must be freed from those calls that do not require an LEO response. Police presence, for many, is an unnecessary trigger. PSR would serve to provide an appropriate response, allowing police to do their jobs; both of these are vital to addressing two of Portland’s most critical problems.
Sheryl Sheffield Price
Our city’s homeless deserve compassionate interventions. Often times that requires more time and attention than our police can/should give.
LeeAnne Heuberger , Teacher Portland Public Schools
Mental health conditions run in my family and I know it can be disorienting and stressful for everyone in the situation. If responders are well trained and empathetic, actions like a welfare check or situation monitoring can be supportive and not threatening. When faced with a challenging situation, I want to be able to ask for help in a way that equally prioritizes the wellbeing of the person experiencing the crisis and the people around them. Community responses like this plan are about equity and access, regardless of a person’s health or housing situation.
I believe that the “how can we help you” approach is far more humane and sensible than the “we’re going to arrest you/have you arrested” approach.
I lived in Eugene and thought CAHOOTS was awesome. We need to do better in Portland and this campaign is a great idea for making that happen
Homeless residents and residents with behavioral health issues need the support of the community. This is best done by responders who have the specialty training to handle their unique needs. This will also free up the Portland Police for the kind of public safety issues they are trained to handle. The evidence seems to indicate that this would be both a more humane approach as well as a cost savings one.
People with mental issues need help not jail. Simple as that!
We need responders with a variety of resources and deescalation tactics that can address and adopt to different situations. Cops usually increase conflict and bring violence into situations.
Tara Hershberger, Theatre teacher
I want to live in a more humane world. This seems like a more wise, compassionate and realistic way to approach a constellation of problems that are ever more evident in Portland.
It makes sense.
Sean & Heather Talbot
I’ve worked with homeless folks up in Calgary, AB and have an appreciation for the benefits of a non-police response to many incidents involving the homeless population.
It is a logical, compassionate, and cost-effective solution to Portland’s growing homelessness problem.
I support the Portland Street Response campaign because I recognize that mental health and human need are not a crime. People who suffer from mental health issues or need a place to go should not be treated like criminals, but instead should be offered compassion and support. I want Portland to be a place of care and respect for the dignity of all human beings.
Juliette L. Dunn
I have read the very well written Street Roots articles and I believe the proposal will be a major improvement over the current situation.
Because we are Smarter than using force as a response to real needs that can be addressed with expertise and compassion.
People on the streets need help they don’t need to be arrested. This plan worked in Eugene. We should try it here. It could save live, will save money, and could strengthen our neighborhoods.
I frequently see people in need of mental health support on the street and don’t have anyone to call
As things stand now, in my opinion, police and policing-based ‘solutions’ to the crisis of houselessness are only exacerbating things. Aside from the financial costs that are mentioned in the Portland Street Response plan, the way things are currently set up only makes life even more difficult for those experiencing houselessness who, in addition to their daily struggles, have to also deal with people’s unbelievable hatred of them and constant harassment from police and even their fellow citizens. This is the right thing to do and a fantastic leap towards a more just Portland.
James Chasse for one.
It’s unconscionable that anyone in our city should be reduced to living on the streets with no support from those of us who can help. This is a responsible, doable project.
I don’t feel confident that the police are equipped to deal with and deescalate some situations. I don’t want to think I am putting a person’s life in danger if I want to call about someone sleeping on my porch or behaving erratically.
I see more homeless people and camps around every day. I believe everyone deserves to be treated humanely and with dignity. We need solutions to homelessness but while we’re working on that we need to treat the symptoms of homelessness in a way that is compassionate and practical both.
Angie Aldrich , Retired
Police arrive and escalate sensitive situations. The Portland Street Response team is the type of response we need to help, not hurt! #carenotcops
Ruth Hale, Student at Reed College
In the last few years, we’ve seen the number of houseless people climb substantially and it’s not slowing down. While some houseless people do not cause problems, those with drug addiction and mental health issues do. A police response is not working to solve the problems, it just shuffles them around and sometimes creates new problems. We must address the root issues and this plan can begin to do that.
Cindy Abernethy, Owner, Pearl Fiber Arts
Hope this is a more humane response
When I see someone in distress, I am unlikely to call the police because I don’t want the person to be harmed. I want an alternative resource that I can trust will interact with people in crisis in a respectful, de-escalatory way. I’ve had family and loved ones experience homelessness and mental health crisis, but I think what is happening in Portland should be personal to all of us, regardless.
We need a better response! Not every crisis is a crime
Kaia Sand, Executive Director, Street Roots
I support PSR because people experiencing homelessness deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity when experiencing moments of crisis. They also don’t deserve to be entangled in the criminal justice system when it’s our country’s very systems that have contributed to their hardships. This can only happen when individuals intervening are specially trained in trauma-informed interventions, which is what PSR aims to do.
Because it is Long Overdue & I think would work better with Peer Support than just cops/other ‘official’ types, people are more likely to respond, to open up & even to Listen to someone they can relate to.
Ms. Lindsey Wilson
More efficient and reasonable use of valuable PPD reaources.
I believe it’s important to have the resources to heal our city. I believe the Police alone are unable to combat the problem of homelessness and that we should try new solutions
I support this proposal because its humane, because being homeless or having a crisis isn’t a crime and shouldn’t be treated as one
All people deserve dignity, compassion and respect. What the city is doing now does not improve the situation, it worsens it. People need services, not a criminal record.
Police should be freed up to respond to crimes. People experiencing homelessness or mental crises need support and services.
It gets people closer to the resources they need (often not jail), and frees police up to address more serious crime.
Through my volunteer work in the community I’ve seen the power of non-law enforcing individuals helping people off the street. It takes a compassionate response and often does not fit well within the boundaries of police work. Police are compassionate but the system they work within is not.
We need better options and support systems for our houseless population!
Many reasons – one being because it meets needs where/how they exist & doesn’t pass the buck waiting for the perfect solution. It’s a compassionate approach & can make a difference…..
Our current approach is failing and inhumane.
I heard first hand from an officer about the program. It sounds reasonable, and gives a solid option for addressing an ongoing homeless crisis.
Sean Watkins, former Chair, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
We work with unhoused Portlanders every day and see the many ways in which the current system is failing our neighbors. We believe an efficient, appropriate, and compassionate response will improve not only the lives of unhoused people, but also the lives of Portlanders in general.
Tivnu: Building Justice
Because even [one] police shooting of a person who could have been served by a trained mental health professional is too many.
I interact with vulnerable people at my job all the time, and would love to have a better way to respond to their needs than simply calling the police.
Thomas Palmer, Light Rail Operator, TriMet
I was able to rely on CAHOOTS when I lived in Eugene, and am frankly shocked a similar service doesn’t exist here. All our neighbors need compassionate, safe care.
Kelley Gardiner, Self-employed
It just makes sense! It’s compassionate, thoughtful and a more community driven response.
Lisa Hawash, Associate Professor of Practice PSU School of Social Work
Responding to mental health or addiction crisis requires a specific skill set that law enforcement should not need to be trained to do. Social workers spend years learning these skills and are better suited to respond than law enforcement.
Because it’s sane, based on facts and budgetary realism, as well as being compassionate and non-dependent on police action.
Human beings shouldn’t be endangered further because they don’t have access to the basic necessities that we all deserve. It’s an absolute travesty to aggressively harass folks who are already in a far more vulnerable state. Shameful! These are our neighbors, members of our community, human beings!
It’s time to stop criminalizing houselessness.
Richard Harding McNeill
Living in NW Portland for several years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of houseless neighbors and it’s heartbreaking to see people in distress and need, knowing that more than likely they’ll have the police called on them. Being on the street, needing mental health services, needing shelter and sustenance, is not criminal. Being treated as such does nothing to help the person in crisis and wastes resources. Street Roots has a proven track record of creating and managing programs with lasting positive results for the community, so when I first read about the Portland Street Response campaign I was happy to know that we may have a real solution on the horizon.
Believe sweeps and arrests of homeless are human rights crimes. Believe criminalization of extreme poverty is a sadistic waste of public resources.
MK Bretsch, Retired
I’ve worked in the Chinatown district for the last year, where I was constantly surrounded by people in states of crisis. I’ve been hesitant to call the police for fear of them harming the people involved. I’d have loved to have someone else to call.
It’s clear there can be a better way to respond to certain low level incidents, especially ones that require additional training and are completely focused on de-escalation.
As someone who worked in homeless services for several years and an attorney, I recognize that the Portland Street Response campaign would shift our response system to match appropriate services to people in crisis.
Cops are ill equipped to handle people in crisis. We need more care less cops
We need a nuanced approach to addressing homelessness and behavioral health crises that are compassionate and supportive. Emergency calls in these situations often don’t offer the kind of support people in these situations truest need, and can often be dangerous for these vulnerable members of our communities.
Members of our household, and members of our broader community struggle with mental illness. We absolutely need a resource to call in mental health emergencies, we don’t have that right now. We strongly support an effort to create the cost effective solution proposed here.
It’s so desperately needed
HOMEpdx works to love people face to face focusing mostly with marginally/unhoused people in the S downtown and inner Eastside areas. We have seen the ways that violence is regularly done towards our friends outside and how they have no one to turn to because the police do harms as well. Furthermore I have neighbors who are unsure who to call for someone to come check on the health and well-being of an unhoused neighbors without calling services that will ultimately sweep them. We need alternatives.
Because we need an actual social response, not a militarized one.
On the job training has diminishing returns. No matter how much training cops get to react differently depending on the situation they are still cops and their go-to response is a police response. Many crises are not resolvable by police response.
As a former EMT, I witnessed countless times where police responded to medical calls and harassed the patient or unnecessarily [created] tensions, especially with people of color and people who are homeless.
Doug Edwards, Medical Assistant at OHSU
My partner has stories as an EMT showing that involving the police only escalated a situation. Having more medically prepared first responders would make an impact to all in our community.
I have seen too many situations unnecessarily escalated or ending in death.
Houseless folks are fully human & our system is dehumanizing them. They deserve better.
Jude Thaddaeus, Accountant
I’m alarmed by the unnecessary use of force by police and the disproportionate violence faced by house less and black members of the community. I see the Street Response campaign as a de-escalating and root problem solving alternative to police intervention for mental health crises.
We need first responders whose primary role and training is one of care. Police being given the budget to be our first responders results in too many vulnerable people in our community being unnecessarily arrested, hurt or even killed.
We are in urgent need of a caring response team to support Portlanders in need.
East Portland resident
I volunteer in prison and too many of the residents there don’t belong. They simply fell through the cracks of the system and got caught by the last net society has.
Because there are far too many of our neighbors who do not have a clean, safe place to sleep and who are houseless because of mental health and addiction issues. We need to divert monies from the police budget to an unarmed, trauma and safety response system so that police can do the work they are meant to do.
I work with low-income and houseless folks on a weekly basis. This sounds like one important step in assisting many in particular need, and in freeing other resources not equipped to so do.
Rev. Dr. James Moiso
I would probably not call on police for help for fear that instead of receiving assistance, I would be putting my life or problematic person’s life at risk. From what I’ve read, it would be risky to involve police even in case of a suicidal person. I know that chances are I could do a much better job of de-escalating a crisis situation than many local police, just by asking the right questions & doing active listening.
We need to cut the armed and hostile police out of community engagement with mental health and non-violent emergencies.
Luke Wheeler, Research analyst- self employed
Houselessness is out of control in this city, but it is not solved through criminalization. Let’s make housing affordable and ubiquitous!
Peter Banka, Software Engineer, Fastly Inc.
I believe our houseless neighbors need any support. But the key is to make sure they are treat as human being with respect and understanding.
I live and work in Portland, specifically inner NE Portland and Old Town; I regularly see and are apart of the symptoms of homelessness. The idea of Portland Street Response is as viable a method of supporting the community as it navigates through the daily issue of homelessness as I’m aware of. I hope the city of Portland takes bold action and embraces this idea as we, as a community, work towards a longer-term solution that solves the root issues.
Paul Bock, Program Manager, Mercy Corps
I see the harm police do to my community and and change is good
I feel extremely unsafe in my neighborhood when the police respond to simple mental health issues by escalating everything to an arrest. There was a man running in the street at 7am and the police immediately engaged by screaming at him to get down on the ground. They didn’t even ask him to step onto the sidewalk or to simply stop running in the street! It’s ridiculous and I would love a trained response team that could deescalate situations instead of making them worse.
The Street Response is a sensible approach to save money, help our vunerable populations and assist the businesses and individuals of our community by connecting them to the appropriate teams to respond to any crisis for which they need assistance.
I believe a response team that is connecting with people who are in crisis, with a solid understanding of what it is like to be in crisis and also homeless, would be the most effective way to help people in the moment and also long-term. Hearing directly from people on the streets and using their words gives us the best chance at understanding what’s needed and how to go about it.
We need a humane, compassionate response to people experiencing behavioral health issues and houselessness, not incarceration.
Matt McNally, Community Outreach Coordinator for Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
I support the Portland Street Response Campaign because I was a Liaison for the Homeless population there in Portland /Salem,Oregon,as well as, theHenderson/Las Vegas,Nevada metro area. I was a homeless student attending and living on the Warner Pacific University campus while I was an undergraduate studying to obtain my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with empathizes on Leadership and Management. I graduated from Warner Pacific University on May 6,2017 having obtained and received my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration in Portland,Oregon. I am still in the process of looking and obtaining work in middle management or higher however since moving back from Portland,Oregon to Henderson/Las Vegas,Nevada my struggle has been very difficult because I am still out on the Henderson/Las Vegas,Nevada metro area streets where the local government(s) both Henderson and Las Vegas,Nevada are starting to impose “Citations and ‘Criminalize” on their homeless population here in which I am one of them because the Henderson/Las Vegas,Nevada claims to be a “Sanctuary State,” however I would totally disagree because of their “lack of services,” for the homeless population, plus Henderson/Las Vegas,Nevada do not even want to build any kind of “Affordable Housing,” for any of their homeless population or low income individuals either! If I do not obtain work here soon I am about to loose everything I own! I ,too,if thing side not work out for me by the end of this month by October 31,2019 I will be headed back home to Portland,Oregon because the Henderson/Las Vegas,Nevada citizens do not have a lot of empathy/compassion or “acceptance” of their own homeless population and refuse to do anything about it and would rather complain about their homeless population here rather than working on trying to find a solution(s) to their issues/problems regarding the homeless population here.
Lori Jean McCorkle, Business Strategic/Solutions Consultant (Independent)
Street response will restore community values and improve safety in Portland.
Babak Zolfaghari-Azar, Family Care Manager
I feel upset when I see houseless individuals in a tough situation, especially if they are being harassed by police. Our police should have a mundane job where they truly help all individuals be safe, not just the wealthy.
Last year we started the Compassionate Change Coalition to ask our city and business leaders to direct resources towards organization’s and institutions dedicated to strategies of trauma informed de-escalation, conflict resolution, and problem-solving and away from traditional policing and security approaches. We believe our neighbors of color who are disproportionately targeted by 9-1-1 callers and our houseless neighbors who also targeted will be far safer when first responders are primarily concerned with educating callers and constructively problem-solving disagreements and issues among fellow community members. We are incredibly pleased that Commissioner Hardesty and her staff have championed this cause – fulfilling her campaign promise to address issues of over-policing. We applaud this remarkable effort to begin to fix our broken system which too often leads to criminalizing many of our most vulnerable residents for merely existing in public space.
Sandra Comstock, Executive Director, Hygiene4All
I have lived in Portland since 1971. Wow, what changes. I remember the heartbreak of seeing the first people living on the streets. It happened as governmental policy favored the wealthy more and more post-Reagan. Now the imbalance is extreme. We need living wage, meaningful jobs, and care for those who cannot work. Give us Bread, and give us Roses. peace to all.
Kathleen Zopa Herron
Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship supports compassionate response to emergencies in Portland. We join Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty in calling for Street Response.
Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, K. Kendall
This such a necessary change to the way the City approaches houselessness.
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, Adam Lyons, E.D.
As the parent of an adult child who has been razor-close to homelessness and hopelessness, I know first-hand that people in psychiatric distress need competent, compassionate, knowledgeable individuals who can help them access services, safety, support, and community connections to help them find their balance. Arrest and medical confinement can worsen their condition. Teams that can assess needs and respond skillfully and thoughtfully are vitally needed in Portland, where far too many people are slipping through the cracks of distress, despair, and hopelessness. I strongly recommend Council’s support for this program!
Living Earth Gatherings, Betsy Toll, Executive Director
Compassion should always come first. We have a very big issue with homeless in our city. This is a very progressive way to help be a first response before things escalate.
Justice Coalition, Collin Justice Jones
Our collective prosperity depends on ending the criminalization of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Innovation Law Lab, Ramon Valdez, Director of Strategic Initiatives
We support PSR because the houseless need supportive services, not more criminalization and intimidation by policing in times of trauma.
Right 2 Survive
Sunrise Movement PDX is building a movement of young people to fight for climate justice in our communities. We believe that folx who are experiencing houselessness are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and we support innovative solutions to support those folx in our community!
Sunrise Movement PDX
We believe our houseless neighbors should be treated with compassion and respect, while law enforcement officers should be focused on criminal activity.
Phil Richman, Associate Partner, TenBridge Partners
The Portland police have a history of violence against people of color and have not been accountable for their responses to situations that do not require the actions they have taken. This is a brilliant solution to many problems that exist within the department and hopefully can lead to more educated and transparency. I would be even more enthusiastic in my endorsement if the structure of the Portland Street Response included a team dedicated to rapid response for panic interactions with ICE/ERO. (such as home or workplace raids and courthouse violations)
Aimee Sitarz, Artist and advocate for immigrant rights
Because the worst treatment received by PPD mishaps in this city come out to people with mental health issues especially those who are unhoused. I work in eviction prevention and homelessness services, and have worked with runaway and homeless youth in the past many living with severe mental health issues, so I definitely would like to see a more humanistic approach to these situations.
Police brutality out of control.
Community safety means loving and protecting the most vulnerable in our community, including the houseless and those suffering from mental illness. A compassionate alternative to criminalization is long overdue.
I hesitate to call the police when people need help, after witnessing several instances of police brutality when the person they were attacking was clearly in crisis and showed no understanding the situation. I don’t want to cause that pain to someone already suffering. I’d love someone else to call.
We need to be smart and compassionate in how we use the city’s precious resources. Not only will Portland Street Response ease some pressure on PPB so they can spend their energy where we need them more, we would be sending trauma informed advocates with more options for long term support to help our neediest neighbors.
Candace Avalos, Student Government and Greek Life Advisor at Portland State University; Candidate for Portland City Council position 1
PSP is so important to people who, for lots of reasons, wouldn’t go to a hospital otherwise. They help people where they are at. I have called on them to help people numerous times with good response.
People need housing and critical services. We should be funding those immediate needs instead of the police who too frequently respond with brutality and without the understanding, empathy, or experience necessary to properly engage with vulnerable populations
Humane and dignified solutions to a growing crisis
Having experience the difference that CAHOOTS is making in Eugene, we know that this is desperately need in Portland too. (Along with social housing!)
Claud & Emily Gilbert
Meeting our community members in crisis with dignity and compassion is essential to remaining on the leading edge of first response and patient care. It’s time we craft a new way forward that increases the health and resilience of everyone in our community.
Dacia Grayber, Firefighter / Paramedic
I have Volunteered with a number of different groups that serve the houseless population and have found that there is a degree of mistrust of emergency medical and police forces. I think that implementing something like the CAHOOTS program in Eugene would go a long ways towards building trust and capacity with this population.
Dana Button, Medical student at OHSU
I support Portland Street Response because you believe that a crises is not always a crime.
No good comes from bringing the police into situations that can be handled by a compassionate community
Emilie Junge, Pro bono Attorney
Police don’t know how to help people in distress. They haven’t been trained. We owe everyone something better than death and incarceration.
I believe in basic human decency and strive to achieve it, myself.
R2S worked on parts of development of PSR, to make this a program to benefit oue unhoused community. We don’t need criminalization,policing while dealing with traumatic situations.
Ibrahim Mubarak, Ex. Director, Right 2 Survive
We need better and more trauma-informed responses to people in crisis. This model works, and it’s time for Portland to put it in place.
I have been going out usually on Sunday with a retired social worker with clothing donations and around 80 sandwiches we’ve made, and we find individuals and small groups who are trying to exist on our streets and visit with them and try to supply what we can to them. We also give out Street Root booklets. Every person I’ve met deserves respect and dignity. It is a crime that there is not a very huge group other than police that can reach each person and keep track of them, not sweep them to another temporary place. Of course, this implies that there are the resources to help these folks find some more permanent living situation and guidance to find their way forward in life. All we’ve been able to do is to just be a friendly contact and give what we can.
Karen Deora, 81 year old semi retired piano teacher
I believe PSR will be here to protect the rights of folks experiencing houselessness when dealing with crisis intervention.
Lisa Fay, Chairperson, Right 2 Survive
I support this campaign because criminalizing homelessness, is inhuman and fails to actually improving the situation for anyone involved.
Anything we can do to remind each other of our humanity is critical. It has become too easy to forget that each of us is a person with heart, soul, needs and struggles at one time of another. A more humane first-responder system means a more humane world.
A safer community is possible
I work for a criminal justice reform foundation dedicated to ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system. We support all harm reduction approaches that provide support and compassion rather than criminalization and further stigmatization of already vulnerable populations. I think something like Portland Street Response is absolutely necessary.
Marlena Williams, Vital Projects Fund
We need to respond to people in crisis with compassion and not criminalization. Portland needs to humanize its response to houselessness!
Matt Chorpenning, MSW, Portland State University School of Social Work
It’s painful to see human beings treated like animals.
Michelle deParrie, Human services specialist Department of Human Services
I know someone helped by Cahoots in Eugene and am impressed by the level and type of service they were able to provide.
I support the help to get off the street and not continue to feel abandoned.
Nate Hergert, Financial Analyst
I strongly believe this is the best approach as I have supported this plan way before JoAnn was elected. I also fully support Street Roots and their work in solutions to houselessness crisis. Lately with city’s leadership has proven ineffective because they treat crisis as a crime. This must change.
Philip J. Wolfe, Portland City Council Candidate 2020
I want compassion and care on our streets and in our city, not violence, criminalization, and punishment. Police are not welcome or helpful as far as I’m concerned, and I applaud proactive alternatives.
Quinn Diane Thereaux
Human beings should be treat with compassion and respect period.
Rachel Hanes, Portland Public School Teacher
Police involvement can do harm to those in vulnerable states of mind, sometimes even resulting in the death of the person in crisis.
I’ve seen CAHOOTS success in Eugene; we need a system that can respond to individuals in crisis without putting them in danger of criminalization
Sara Dinneen, ECSE Teacher, NWRESD
Portland Street Response is so important to individuals who would not choose to go to a hospital otherwise, which there are many. I believe this is a model of preventative care which saves the commonwealth thousands of dollars.
I’ve watched the Portland Police for over a decade.
They don’t live here.
They don’t care about our community.
Their allegiance is to their Union.
They recruited their friends, got bonuses, militarized.
Pretty soon it’ll be like living in Nazi Germany, citizens cowering in fear of their alleged protectors.
Our children fear them.
They prey on the weak.
Never call them on a houseless person unless you want bad things to happen to that person.
Police criminalize poverty, ensuring those caught in their net sink further.
To those of us with more, they are so polite and helpful.
They fooled us for a long time.
And then our kids lost their community centers and pools.
But cops kept all 3 firing ranges they can’t even fully employ.
And of course we kept our golf courses. #MakeAmericaGolfAgain
While our water makes us sick.
Good job City Council.
Teresa Roberts, Artist
The time to focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration is long overdue. I stand in solidarity with Portland Street Response and all those who wish to transform our system to be more compassionate.
Humane idea for a problem that needs all the humanity it can get.
naomi dagen bloom
Compassionate care in traumatic moments would be wonderful in our community
We believe in and value of the work that Street Roots does and appreciate this specific project very much
Betsy & George Wright
When Portlanders see someone struggling with mental health issues or houselessness, we want to help. We call first responders because that’s where we expect to get help in urgent situations. But for years, we’ve seen that when police respond to these situations, they react as they’ve been trained to for dangerous situations. Far too often, the person in need of help ends up worse off, even dead.
Folks call 911 when in a moment of crisis. Our current system doesn’t always provide the right resources for those moments of need and sometimes can be detrimental to supporting these members of our community in these pivotal moments.
Brett Zimmerman, Firefighter, City Of Portland
People need help, and they need to feel safe in asking for it.
Celeste Searles Mazzacano
Dustin Dandliker, Contributing Columnist at Street Roots
I support Street Roots, dignity for all people and have great respect for Commissioner Hardesty. This program seems overdue but am glad it’s being created now.
I am a long time supporter of Street Roots, never an miss issue of the Paper. I have developed close relationships with many vendors over the years and sadly seen several of them die. Mortality on the street is a much more evident than for those of us who have the luxury on being housed.
Police need a better presence in our neighborhood…we need their engagement. We need constructive engagement. Currently they are not part of the neighborhood…we have no station, patrol cars sneak about the back roads and criminals seem to have no fear of the law in this part of town..we need a better relationship and more support..a partnership to help those who struggle on these streets
I’ve been involved with organizations supporting people who are houseless and people with mental illness for decades. We clearly need to provide alternatives to police response for situations where people need assistance when they are having difficulties that is compassionate and treats the situation as a health care issue, not a criminal infraction.
Portland will be a more sophisticated and prosperous city when law enforcement are deployed only in response to violations of the law, while other members of our community respond to all other urgent needs.
Justin Holmes, Cryptographic Engineer, NuCypher
I support the campaign because the solution is comprehensive with multiple agencies involved and I believe it will produce positive results similar to Cahoots.
It’s important to take care of our community and our neighbors. We need to have resources that will provide care and meaningful assistance.
I’ve worked in mental health for 30 years and of course, interacting with the homeless population is inevitable.
Lisa Wilson, Licensed professional counselor
We need to treat homeless individuals fairly.
Patricia Rimmer, Substitute Teacher. Portland Public schools
I am a retired mental health professional and am appalled at the facts that we do not have a mental health response team and that the police training in recognizing and appropriately responding to potentially dangerous mental health emergencies which began in the 1970’s is not being implemented in our current department.
Peggy Hackenbruck, self-employed
The Portland Street Response approach is a step in the right direction. Portland prides itself as a welcoming city with progressive ideals. The sad reality is that this welcome is reserved for people with financial means who live in “inner” Portland. Those without means find their lives criminalized simply because they are poor. Compound this lack of housing with a mental health crisis and many live in fear of incarceration or death at the hands of law enforcement. Conversations about those without houses are filled with dehumanizing language. Creating a humane, empathic, appropriate response agency for issues involving houselessness and mental health crisis shows that Portland views all peoples are worthy of being treated as human beings, regardless of their financial means.
Young adults on the street are often perceived as criminal when in fact they are victims that need emotional, mental and physical support. I would love to see us revisit how we approach them and ways to help them.
Susan Elliott, English Teacher Potland OIC
I see the effects on the streets of rising homelessness in Portland and also as I travel around this country. It is a shame in a country with such great wealth which is appropriated by so few. I am very relieved to know about this effort in Portland by Street Roots. Perhaps it can serve as a national model.
Teri Ludvigson, Retired
It’s the right thing to do.
Law enforcement should not be called to respond to problems that people experience in meeting their basic healthcare and shelter needs. Relying on law enforcement in these instances inevitably contributes to criminalization of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness. Many people have a trauma history involving police, arrest, and jail. The presence of law enforcement can escalate these situations, despite officers’ training and good intentions.
Disability Rights Oregon
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