Not many people like camp removals such as the one we saw happen this week in Bend. Not the service providers who have been on site for weeks at the 2nd Street encampment working to help people relocate; not the cops or the cleaners who handle physical removal of people and stuff; not the people who have set up tents in the area; not the activists who come out to livestream the chaos; and not us.
Still, we believe in a better way to support the people who currently live on the streets than continuing to let them park tents where there are no bathrooms, water or other amenities. Even if we find them a bed for a night—what then?
To help the neighbors who currently live on the streets, and who cost taxpayers more staying put than they do by being in permanent supportive housing, mind you—people need to know where to go for help. They need a central location to find mental health, substance abuse and housing support. Just after this issue goes to press, the Bend City Council is expected to approve the funding to expand and improve the 2nd Street Shelter, adding a Navigation Center that will be that central hub. Bendites should support this effort. Better yet, they should step up to help that Navigation Center run successfully through donations of time and/or money.