Officials in Portland, Ore. recently estimated it will cost $640 million over the next 10 years in order to help adequately prevent homelessness in the area, but a report out this week shows that many citizens from the City of Roses have simply resorted to calling the police on unwanted vagrants. In fact, authorities say that more any other problem, residents are calling the emergency hotline to complain about homeless people even when immediate danger is not present.
Katie Shepherd of the Willamette Week reports that the Portland Police Bureau receives a call from the public on average every 15 minutes per day to complain about an unsheltered person who “frightens or inconveniences them.” When lumped together with other calls such as mental health emergencies, police recive calls every 4 minutes for a non-violent issue. . .
“We get a lot of administrative-type calls,” Bureau of Emergency Communications director Bob Cozzie told WW. “Those kinds of things are certainly not 911 emergencies, but because they don’t know what other number to call, they call 911.”
This poses a problem for a number of reasons, chief among them the Portland Police have a lack of staff properly equipped to deal with homeless people who often have a mental illness. Advocates say the department needs more funding and training to help solve the crisis.
“The Portland Police Bureau has not been given nearly enough resources to fulfill its small piece in addressing the homelessness crisis,” police union president Daryl Turner said in a recent statement. “It’s a recipe for failure to put the burden of the homelessness solution on the Police Bureau’s shoulders and then give us insufficient resources to do the work.” (Read more from “Epidemic: Residents in This U.S. City Call 911 Every 15 Minutes Over Homeless People” HERE)