Would you want a homeless family camping out in your backyard? Apparently, some Portland, Oregon homeowners are fine with the idea.
Portland has launched pilot program called A Place for You, whereby the city will provide tiny homes to be erected in the backyards of homeowners, who can then charge rent, The Associated Press reported.
Clip via KOIN-TV
Despite former President Obama’s continued claims that his own administration’s programs gave us a booming economy, Portland has experienced a growing homeless problem. Almost 4,000 people sleep on Portland’s streets, and the city has a current shortage of 24,000 affordable housing units.
This new program was designed to address those problems.
Homeowners Becca and Kelly Love were among the first of the approximate 200 homeowners to express interest in participating.
“Just because you don’t have housing, it doesn’t make you a bad person or more likely to be a bad tenant. In fact, you’d be a better tenant because you’d appreciate it,” Becca Love, a social worker, said, according to the AP. “We’ve been trying to think of a way to help out in our community because we do have privilege … but we didn’t know what to do.”
Her husband Kelly is a counselor.
The city will purchase the first four 200-square-foot modular units using $365,000 in government funds together with a charitable donation. Though small, they will reportedly accommodate an adult and up to two children.
The AP reported:
All families will be screened and the homeowner and the tenants will sign a lease that spells out what behaviors won’t be tolerated.
The families will receive social services that the county already provides to all homeless families they house, Li said, and they will pay 30 percent of the rent themselves.
Housing officials in the city and surrounding Multnomah County have increasingly turned to so-called “tiny houses” and even portable sleeping pods.
The new mayor, Ted Wheeler, has said he wants to move away from the unplanned tent villages that sprung up under his predecessor — often in gentrifying neighborhoods — and focus on planned communities of small, more permanent dwellings until the city can build more apartments.
The problem is especially acute among the approximate 200 homeless families with children, Marc Jolin, director of the city and county’s Joint Office of Homeless Services reported.
“This project … is as important as the work we’re doing on shelters because we have far too many families with children living in our shelters,” he said. “We want to move them to permanent housing as quickly as possible.”
Mary Li, director of Multnomah County’s new Idea Lab, which developed the concept, agrees.
“Shelter beds are amazingly critical,” she told local station KOIN Channel 6 News. “They save lives, but none of us wants to think of anyone, particularly a family of children living in a shelter for any period of time.”
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