portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article questions portland metro

actions & protests | homelessness

where did the homeless sleep last night?

There have been sweeps the last few days and ICE officers were wandering 'their federal parks' as they told me, but they din't know where people have been sleeping.
Are you guys okay? Whats the scoop? We're all worried about you!

Hiding from Criminalization of Poverty 22.May.2008 14:27

Lee Iacuzzi Lisaiacuzzi@yahoo.com

Their is no question that the protesters are being targeted. The cool deal is that the protestors are helping each other out. For example, a homeless 14 year old gay boy doing tricks on the street was helped by a gay foster home. Portesters are orgainizing community housing and slowly a few are getting off the street.

The battle is not over until the unconstitutional ordinances are repealed. Look for the next direct action because it is coming.

Lisa/Lee Iacuzzi
Not a Good Queer on Google


Division through forced return to 'the daily service/shelter shuffle' 22.May.2008 17:06

Wesley Flowers nodoubtinfo@gmail.com

We're sleeping wherever we can. This is a tactic being used by the Portland Police and the City Government and PBA through Private Control Forces to divide the 'free-range human'(my term for houseless/homeless/unhoused/nomadic) community back into the daily grind of shuffling around the city in search of food and a safe place to sleep. This is one of the reasons that there are fewer free-range humans present at the daily meetings (although there were 17 non-housed folks present at yesterdays Chapman Square meeting and only three housed folks).

As an example, I have to take out about 2 hours of my day to acquire one full meal at Blanchet House. Travel time to Blanchet House can ranger anywhere from a 15 minute walk to an hour transit, 45 minutes standing in the initial line, 20 minutes to get and eat my food (I eat faster than most), and another 15-25 minutes going through the line a second time (to get the amount of calories I need) and another 20 minutes to get and eat the seconds. Sometimes that is my only meal. It regularly takes over an hour to go through the line at Sisters of the Road, and another 20-40 minutes to actually get the food you order. This is not due to inadequate service, but to client/customer overload and being underequipped/undersized for the amount of people that are being served.

The reason that there were so many unhoused folks able to participate in the direct protest at City Hall for 22 days is because people were able to sleep there and acquire their food there. They didn't have to hunt down a place to crash for the night or stand in line for 6 hours a day to get a couple meals.

There have been sweeps at various campsites with citations allegedly issued (no concrete data on that yet...sometimes it can be hard to get concrete info from a fragmented community) and I have witnessed 'observation' operations being more regularly conducted towards the people that are still meeting and continuing the movement under the various names that have been adopted by various spurs, including obvious transit security targeting of the MAX line and Portland Streetcars on lines frequented by the poor and unhoused.

There need to be some concrete answers to the questions of where do people now sleep at night and how are they eating, and it should be addressed by the community of supporters with resources available which the unhoused, free-rangers don't have, to be able to continue the momentum which has already been achieved before it starts to fizzle out. When being homeless is a full-time job, and being an activist is a full-time job, when do folks have the time to just be themselves without getting burned out?

This is the crux of the protest. We (the unhoused activists) need a safe place to sleep and meet and work. Having a place where we can all eat together would be great, but sleep first...Making scheduled meetings, and participating in impromptu meetings and hunting for food and shelter don't always mix and frequently clash. One will always have to be sacrificed for the other, especially if you are already tired and burned from being in the cycle of homelessness for however long you have been (6 years for me). It is all too easy to lose hope (which I'm not, but I'm also flying around at breakneck speed to 'eat, and meet' and my personal stress level is slightly higher than I would prefer) for those who already believe that there is no hope.