PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland released new data showing major progress on the homeless crisis Wednesday, but residents still say more needs to be done.
Demetryus Bright recently took a job with the Portland Timbers as an account executive and moved his family from Ohio to Portland, hoping to escape the rampant gun violence. But after four months, his wife already wants their family to leave.
Bright says the homeless camps in the South Tabor neighborhood have him fearing for his family’s safety and that his car and home have been vandalized. He also said there have been fires on the street, including one that took place Tuesday night.
“It’s kind of disappointing. I worked hard to get where I’m at, to move my family 36 hours, to deal with this? No,” he said. “Gunshots and gun violence and that’s one reason we moved, to get away from stuff like that. And to feel safe walking to school, and to move to a nice neighborhood but it’s like there are people doing narcotics sitting outside. We can’t let our kids go outside and play on the front porch, let alone walk to school.”
Bright told KOIN 6 News that issues with the homeless have gotten so bad, that his wife now wants to take their children and move back to Ohio. His dilemma comes as Metro released data today outlining the progress made through their Supportive Housing Fund.
Backed by the Tri-County Homeless Services tax on high-income earners and big business, the fund, which was approved by voters in May of 2020, aims to address the homeless crisis through expanding services.
According to the data released Wednesday, in the year following the program’s start, the Metro Supportive Housing fund has helped more than 1,600 homeless people move into stabilized housing, protected roughly 9,200 people from being evicted and generated more than 500 new shelter beds.
However, some families, like Bright’s, still feel that they are not safe.
“This is a huge amount of folks into housing, but if we can’t keep up with the number of folks who fall into homelessness, we’re going to just tread water. That’s how you can see these big numbers and still feel like there’s a crisis on our streets, because we haven’t shut off the spigot, we’ve only made a bigger bucket to help people,” said Denis Theriault, the deputy communications director for Multnomah County.
But despite the encouraging numbers, Bright says as a new resident, he feels the city is not doing enough.
“Nobody does anything about anything here. When my car got vandalized, when my house got vandalized the police officer said ‘welcome to Portland,'” Bright said.