If this is a crisis, then let’s treat it like one.
For years now, state and local authorities have declared we are in the midst of a housing crisis — an emergency, with over a hundred people dying on the streets of this city every year.
Many of us have seen how competent authorities respond to crises. We have been to cities and towns in the aftermath of crises like fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, or wars. We have seen the Red Cross in action, setting up shelters for those without shelter, among many other things.
With our city’s streets and highways are lined with people living in unbelievable conditions here in the richest country in the world, we want to support our houseless friends and neighbors by doing what the Red Cross would be doing, if the politicians were serious when they say this is a crisis. In contemporary mutual aid lingo, a tent bloc.
There is so much more support needed in addition to shelter, such as supplies for setting up makeshift kitchens, showers, toilets, etc. We are working directly with the PDX Houseless Radicals Collective, to direct funds towards the most needed things at a given time. If you use the Cash App, you can also donate to the collective directly: $radicalcamping
The underlying principle behind the PEER Tent Fund project, as with the PEER project generally, is to be in close contact with the houseless communities we’re working with, and to respond to any “sweep” attempts mounted by the police. What that looks like will vary depending on circumstances, but the idea is to prevent any tent evictions, or, barring that, to bear witness to them and then to replace anything the police destroy.
And build back better.
Another Portland is possible.