This is a new SMILE committee exploring issues surrounding our homeless/houseless neighbors. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation. Meetings are held on the fourth Thursdays of the month at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Meeting information is on the SMILE calendar. Find recordings of past meetings below. For additional information about the committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe for the Housing Solutions Committee listserv, sign up here.
Housing Solutions Committee Principles and Objectives
- SMILE does not condone illegal camping but nor do we wish to condem individuals simply for being homeless.
- SMILE is not in the business of running homeless services and will seek to partner with the professional organizations who are expert and experienced in this area.
- SMILE will support and encourage actions that can be taken in our community to improve the situation with people living on the street while advocating for effective action to be taken by our City and State leaders and government agencies.
Objective: To be a forum for Sellwood-Moreland community members to come together to discuss, learn and agree on actions we can take to have a positive impact on our local houseless and homeless situation. Our committee is a forum to share ideas, concerns, resources and to help educate our community on the complex issues related to the current housing and homelessness crisis in Portland and enable us to take effective action. To achieve this, we will:
- Not advocate for a “zero tolerance”, “unilateral clearance” or “law enforcement” response to people who find themselves living on our streets. We will refer any crime and/or community safety concerns to relevant authorities, law enforcement officials and/or the SMILE Community Safety Committee to respond to.
- Develop a set of community “norms” around the behaviors we would like and expect of our houseless neighbors and that we would communicate consistently.
- Seek to develop a local solution – such as accepted area(s) where we would allow supervised rest sites – run by other expert organizations – that offered temporary supports and referrals to mainstream services and that we could point to as an alternative place to stay than in areas deemed unacceptable to our community or unsafe to the houseless.
- Source and/or offer training, education and other tools to community members to help them to feel able to best engage with or respond to houseless and homeless people living on our streets.
We have identified three areas of work and focus for the committee that appeal and cater to the needs, concerns and interests of our community:
- Advocacy and Public Pressure: Communicating with public officials about our community needs, understanding the city/county/state strategy, seeking to support what we can and challenge what we see as ineffective, inappropriate, inadequate or inequitable.
- Supporting our Houseless Neighbors: Activities that help provide basic necessities to those in immediate need, such as food, clothing, blankets, hygiene facilities, etc.
- Improving Community Safety and “Livability”: Activities such as Neighborhood and Camp Clean-ups, getting to know our houseless neighbors, communicating our community norms and expectations, understanding their needs, and sharing resources.