East side residents worried homeless have overwhelmed neighborho - KPTV - FOX 12

East side residents worried homeless have overwhelmed neighborhood

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Residents of the Gateway neighborhood say have seen more homeless individuals in the area since the opening of a new shelter and a new Dept. of Human Services office. (KPTV) Residents of the Gateway neighborhood say have seen more homeless individuals in the area since the opening of a new shelter and a new Dept. of Human Services office. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Neighbors in east Portland are concerned about a sudden influx of homeless and services to support them into the Gateway area.

Ken Pearce, who lives near the newly opened Hansen Shelter at Northeast 122nd Street and Northeast Glisan Street, said the shelter, combined with a new Department of Human Services office just down the street, has overwhelmed the neighborhood.

"This area has been flooded with Portland's most vulnerable populations," Pearce said. "Now we have camping in all the parks, we have people wandering the streets here."

Pearce said his primary concern is an uptick in property crime. He said three of his neighbors have recently had their homes or cars broken into.

"If you leave belongings out at night, they're gone the next day.  It's that bad," he said.

Mark Jolin, Director of the Joint Offices of Homeless Services, said there has been no intentional effort to centralize services in East Portland.

"We know from our last street count and from what we observe in our community that we have nearly 2000 people a night who are unsheltered in our community," he explained. "We have many more people facing housing crisis than we have the resources to support."

Still, Jolin said there have been signs of improvement.  The city and county have spent more resources to address the problem, and as a result transitioned more than 4,600 people out of shelters into permanent housing in the past year. 

He also noted that through rent assistance and support, more than 9,300 people were able to stay in their homes.

There are several projects currently underway around Portland to build more affordable housing.

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