Portland ends homeless 'safe sleeping' program

When Portland mayor Charlie Hales announced a pilot program in February that allowed homeless people to sleep on city sidewalks without fear of being hassled by police, property owners questioned his judgment. 

Yesterday, the mayor admitted thatt the program was a mistake and ended it.

Washington Post:

The so-called “Safe Sleeping Guidelines” policy will end immediately, but several other pilot programs that also were rolled out in February in the famously liberal City of Roses will continue or even expand, the mayor said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“The ‘safe sleep’ policy was well intended, but it created a lot of confusion and maybe some accidental or deliberate misunderstandings,” Hales said. “It was never intended to legalize (street) camping.”

Hales has walked a fine line in trying to address a growing problem with homelessness in the Pacific Northwest city while appeasing homeowners and businesses. His struggles mirror those in other West Coast cities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, where politicians have grappled to address a tide of homelessness.

Portland’s safe sleeping policy allowed homeless people to unroll a sleeping bag or unfurl a tarp between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. on city sidewalks and allowed camping in some specific areas of the city -- but never in more than groups of six.

When Hales announced it in February, it drew immediate criticism.

Neighborhood and business groups, including the Portland Business Alliance, sued. The Willamette Week, the city’s alternative weekly, sent a team of reporters to test the policy by pitching tents on the sidewalk in front of Hales’ home and the homes of other elected officials.

The policy was supposed to be a temporary measure while the city worked to create more temporary housing and dovetailed with the city’s declaration of a state of emergency for homelessness. Portland has about 1,800 homeless people and needs 1,000 shelter beds, Hales said.

A coalition opposing the policy, Safe & Livable Portland, called the mayor’s move a step in the right direction and added they wouldn’t seek further legal action against the city.

This is a perfect example of how liberals believe that the world works compared to reality.  The reason for the homeless crisis is that it is ruinously expensive to live in Portland.  The good liberals in that city are incapable of connecting that fact to the fact that more and more people are unable to afford housing of any kind.  Any ideas about increasing the mix of affordable and luxury housing never enters their heads because they deny the connection between supply and demand.

So instead of going to the root of the problem and creating sensible policies that would increase the amount and affordability of housing, they paper over the problem by simply refusing to enforce statutes against vagrancy.  It was never going to work, and finally admitting as much by pulling the program should be an embarrassment.  Instead, the mayor is praised for his "compassion" toward the homeless  while showing no compassion for property owners.

When Portland mayor Charlie Hales announced a pilot program in February that allowed homeless people to sleep on city sidewalks without fear of being hassled by police, property owners questioned his judgment. 

Yesterday, the mayor admitted thatt the program was a mistake and ended it.

Washington Post:

The so-called “Safe Sleeping Guidelines” policy will end immediately, but several other pilot programs that also were rolled out in February in the famously liberal City of Roses will continue or even expand, the mayor said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“The ‘safe sleep’ policy was well intended, but it created a lot of confusion and maybe some accidental or deliberate misunderstandings,” Hales said. “It was never intended to legalize (street) camping.”

Hales has walked a fine line in trying to address a growing problem with homelessness in the Pacific Northwest city while appeasing homeowners and businesses. His struggles mirror those in other West Coast cities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, where politicians have grappled to address a tide of homelessness.

Portland’s safe sleeping policy allowed homeless people to unroll a sleeping bag or unfurl a tarp between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. on city sidewalks and allowed camping in some specific areas of the city -- but never in more than groups of six.

When Hales announced it in February, it drew immediate criticism.

Neighborhood and business groups, including the Portland Business Alliance, sued. The Willamette Week, the city’s alternative weekly, sent a team of reporters to test the policy by pitching tents on the sidewalk in front of Hales’ home and the homes of other elected officials.

The policy was supposed to be a temporary measure while the city worked to create more temporary housing and dovetailed with the city’s declaration of a state of emergency for homelessness. Portland has about 1,800 homeless people and needs 1,000 shelter beds, Hales said.

A coalition opposing the policy, Safe & Livable Portland, called the mayor’s move a step in the right direction and added they wouldn’t seek further legal action against the city.

This is a perfect example of how liberals believe that the world works compared to reality.  The reason for the homeless crisis is that it is ruinously expensive to live in Portland.  The good liberals in that city are incapable of connecting that fact to the fact that more and more people are unable to afford housing of any kind.  Any ideas about increasing the mix of affordable and luxury housing never enters their heads because they deny the connection between supply and demand.

So instead of going to the root of the problem and creating sensible policies that would increase the amount and affordability of housing, they paper over the problem by simply refusing to enforce statutes against vagrancy.  It was never going to work, and finally admitting as much by pulling the program should be an embarrassment.  Instead, the mayor is praised for his "compassion" toward the homeless  while showing no compassion for property owners.