Readers respond: Sweeps are not the solution

We have served hot meals to the unhoused at Laurelhurst Park five days a week for the last three years. We see most of the same people each day. We know their names. They know ours. We know if they want coffee or hot chocolate. We know their preferred color of socks – white or black.

On Oct. 31, they were swept again. We knew it was going to happen. It’s happened at least 20 times this past year, but this was different. This time, the city made sure we couldn’t come back. Barricades and tall fences were put in place. Imagine what it must feel like to be told repeatedly you have to move. I guess we can say the housed neighbors won. At least they won’t have to look at the unhoused. But the unhoused are still on the street.

It won’t be as easy to meet their immediate needs, like giving them nutritional food, warm dry clothes, a sleeping bag, their mail, a friendly face, help to get their food stamps or ID. They’ve learned to trust us, but now they are scattered. This was not a solution to the problem.

We know why we’re there every day. Do city officials know why they’re doing what they’re doing?

Perhaps others will rest well because of the city’s actions. We won’t.

Pat Schwiebert, Portland

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