Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler on homeless: "We obviously have a humani - KPTV - FOX 12

Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler on homeless: "We obviously have a humanitarian crisis forming"

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Calling the city’s homeless situation a growing “humanitarian crisis,” Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler said he wants to move away from existing tent camping policies. (KPTV) Calling the city’s homeless situation a growing “humanitarian crisis,” Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler said he wants to move away from existing tent camping policies. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

After a big win on Tuesday, Ted Wheeler, Oregon’s current State Treasurer, is the new mayor-elect for the city of Portland.

While he won’t officially take charge until January, he said that he knows that he will inherit a lot of controversial issues, including the issue of homelessness.

Wheeler sat down with FOX 12 for a one-on-one interview Friday to share his thoughts on what he thinks is not working, and the policies he plans to push when he takes office.

Wheeler said he is already working to address the problem of homelessness in in the city. Simply put, he thinks the current system isn’t working.

“We obviously have a humanitarian crisis forming in the form of the homeless situation, I hear about that every day from people,” Wheeler said.

Currently the city is allowing tent camping and street sleeping as part of a new initiative called the Safe Sleep Policy. 

The experiment has led the city to be sued by coalition of concerned citizens and downtown businesses owners. 

Wheeler said when he is officially in office as mayor, he wants move away from that policy. 

“I do not support the homeless tent camping model that’s currently in place,” he said. “It’s not a compassionate response to vulnerable people. I don’t think it’s fair to neighborhoods and I don’t think it’s fair to local business owners.”

Wheeler said he will be focused on bringing in additional indoor alternatives for people sleeping on the streets and is interested in launching a program that allows the city’s homeless to earn money for jobs in the city to build work experience.

“They’ve launched a great program like this in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Wheeler explained. “It starts people off modestly, they work one or two hours a week, and it gets people back into the swing of things gradually.”

Wheeler added that he understands people are frustrated by the situation, and said that he plans to use all means at the city’s disposal to create more affordable housing.

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