False promises: 95% of unsheltered Portlanders said city workers didn’t offer shelter before camp sweeps

A survey of 300 unsheltered Portlanders commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive in late 2021 found that 91% of them had experienced a sweep. Of those, 95% said they were not offered temporary shelter, transitional or permanent housing or other services to meet their immediate needs prior to being kicked out of where they were living.

The city of Portland dismissed the survey findings as unreliable, primarily because the survey only included individuals still living outdoors and not the estimated five to 15 people per week who are helped to find indoor shelter when camps are cleared away, said Heather Hafer, spokesperson for the city department that manages encampment removals. Hafer also downplayed the findings as based on “people’s self-reported experiences.”

The Oregonian/OregonLive designed the survey, helped train workers to administer it and conducted 50 of the 300 interviews. The survey work, spanning all corners of the city, was primarily completed by workers from the nonprofit Street Roots, most of whom were experiencing homelessness.

Read more from Oregon Live here.