Homelessness is a Real Problem

At an April presentation to the Oregon Housing Stability Conference, Kate Brown said she is “shocked” by the number of homeless campers in Portland.

She shouldn’t be surprised, as homelessness is a result of the lack of housing, employment, economic prosperity and mental health care in our state. Poor leadership and policies coming from the 30-year Democrat rule have contributed to this statewide.

In January 2015, the Oregonian published a special report on homelessness in Portland, which criticized the establishment’s progress on the issue of reducing the crisis.

Homelessness is not just a problem in Portland; it’s an issue that plagues our entire state. Despite a pledge made a decade ago to end homelessness in the metro area, an estimated 4,000 men, women, and children sleep outside on the streets in Multnomah County alone.

Why aren’t the numbers getting better in metro areas?

Housing is a major issue. Portland lacks enough permanent housing and emergency shelter space. By now, you’ve likely heard, “illegal camping is the new normal in Portland.” Bud Pierce believes more can be done. Homelessness cannot become known as the new normal. Mayor Charlie Hales declared a state of emergency in September in an effort to have city council vote to weaken zoning laws to allow more shelters to be built.

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Bud Pierce understands the importance of building affordable public housing and how vital it is for Oregon to ensure that its most vulnerable citizens are looked after. Truthfully, a variety of factors have lead to increased homelessness in Portland and Oregon in general. Untreated mentally ill and drug-addicted Oregonians cannot work and unfortunately, many end up living on the streets. An economy that fails to provide well paying jobs forces the working poor to live on the streets. Government has driven up the price of housing by 1) creating a scarcity of buildable land, and 2) having high building fees and cumbersome regulations that make housing unaffordable and ultimately contributes to homelessness. 

The real answer to decreasing homelessness is to have a happy and healthy workforce; an abundance of well paying jobs; and for government to do all that is possible to decrease the cost of housing construction. Shelters and public housing are absolutely necessary for those individuals who cannot work.