City of Gresham hires specialist to bridge gap between homeless - KPTV - FOX 12

City of Gresham hires specialist to bridge gap between homeless and community

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Homeless Services Specialist Newton Gborway (right) Homeless Services Specialist Newton Gborway (right)
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

When Newton Gborway was younger, he escaped his home country Liberia during a civil war in search for a better life, fleeing by foot to Sierra Leone.

“I was able to adapt to the system,” Gborway said. "I was able to get help from different people and that’s why I think its easy for me to relate to these guys.”

After he arrived to the United States, Gborway earned his associates, bachelor's, and then a master's degree.

For the past two months, he’s been employed by the City of Gresham as a homeless services specialist.

“Some people think some people just want to be on the street and they don’t need help, but there are a lot these guys that want the help but the resources are not there.”

Gborway comes to various sites throughout the city where homeless camping continues.

Unlike Portland, the City of Gresham does not allow homeless camping. But it has had its fair share of issues along the Springwater Trail. There has been damage and dumped trash left along the trail, forcing the City of Gresham to fence off 60-acres of the nature area back in March.

The City of Portland announced it will start to clean homeless camps along the Springwater Trail along its city limits starting August 1. An official notice of the clean up will be posted several days before, and the city reports homeless specialists have already started working the trail to provide resources.

Gborway said there is a possibility people would spill into Gresham city lines.

“The most important thing is to prepare,” Gborway said. “Because we want to save everyone as much as we can and we have our own people in Gresham.”

“They’re going to come back even if they clear it,” David Ellis who is currently homeless said. “Unless [the city] decide to patrol it 24-7.”

Gborway said the homeless issue is complex and it takes the entire community, city government as well as the homeless to solve the problem.

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