PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland recently got the green light to dedicate more funds to a program that would help relocate homeless people who can prove they have more stable housing options in another city.
Approximately 4,000 homeless people were counted in Portland as of January, and nearly half of them don’t have a place to sleep indoors.
The city knows it has a serious problem on its hands, and a number of ideas have been presented to help those without homes get some help.
It’s the reason Portland has been given an extra $2.75 million for services even before the next budget is drafted. That includes $30,000 for the program Homeward Bound.
“This is actually to connect people who may have come to Portland for something and it didn’t work out and they’re stranded here and need to get back to where their family and support system is,” Mayor Charlie Hales’ Chief of Staff Josh Alpert said.
Homeward Bound helps anyone who can prove they have a stable place to live somewhere outside of Portland by giving them a ride, be it by bus, train or plane.
Alpert says he’s very optimistic people will use the program to help restart their lives.
Roy Cochran, who lives on the streets in Portland, says he would “absolutely” take advantage of the program if he had a job or housing lined up out of state.
“I think it’s the city giving a helping hand,” Cochran said.
But, at least for now, Cochran says he’s staying put. Leeroy Williams, who also lives on the streets, says many people gravitate to Portland because of its resources.
“The city needs to work on the homeless here instead of pushing people out,” he said.
Money for the program is expected to dry up well before the next budget is drafted.