Oregon NGOs Expect Homeless Response To Improve Under New Governor

NGOs Expect Homeless Response: Every day, those who are homeless receive assistance from Blanchet House in Old Town. Anyone in need can receive free meals, clothing, and other assistance. Blanchet House director Scott Kerman says he is optimistic about Governor Kotek’s plans to minimize homelessness, but that state lawmakers will also need to give financing and assistance beyond the construction of homes.

Oregon NGOs Expect Homeless Response To Improve Under New Governor

Wrap-around support services “are one of the holes in a lot of our financing right now,” added Kerman. What sets us apart are “our food services, our clothing services, and the peer support that we give to people.”

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Kerman claims that contributions are the main source of funding for Blanchet House and other organizations like it. He expresses the sincere desire that a state-wide emergency declaration on homelessness will result in increased funding for groups working to aid the homeless and those with mental health or substance abuse issues.

As Kerman put it, “it’s challenging to acquire money for these sorts of community centers, drop-in centers, and a lot of smaller charities in our town.”

The issue of homelessness has been declared an emergency on many occasions in Portland in the past year, prompting the city to take action, such as accelerating the construction of new homes, clearing up illegal camping spots, and identifying and funding new emergency shelter alternatives. This past autumn, Mayor Ted Wheeler also passed a law making it illegal to camp in unofficial locations. But Kerman claims he isn’t noticing much of a change.

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I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t noticed any significant shifts. Sometimes the plans aren’t in place when these things are proclaimed,” he remarked. I’m not sure how these pronouncements increase the urgency with which we must act.

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