People living outside in Portland are forced to relocate their homes many times during the year; sometimes, many times a month. This relocation or ‘sweeping’ disrupts an individual’s ability to acquire safe sleep, which is fundamental to successful cognitive functioning.
A better approach, we believe, is to find areas where people living outside in Portland can safely ‘land’ and be a part of a small community we call ‘Micro Landings.' We're serious about small - Micro Landings have 7 tents and 14 residents. This helps build a strong community and focuses attention on each individual.
Each week there are over 500 sweeps in Portland. That means at least 1000 people living outside are forced to pick up what they can carry, leave everything else behind, and start over - every week. It's hard to comprehend. Find a tent, sleeping bag, blankets, clothing, and a place to sleep - over and over again.
We'd like to have Micro Landings in unobtrusive locations throughout Portland so people living outside can be protected and benefit from safe sleep. We're using canvas disaster relief tents like this one to keep people dry and warm.
Through our partners, we provide weekly trash collection, porta potties, weekly mobile laundry and showers, and weekly mobile medical care. It's still very hard to live outside (no electricity, no water, no permanent shelter), but enough stability allows for the beginning of a new future.
From a community of safety and security, individuals living outside can begin to seek more permanent housing in Portland and social services can better serve their needs. We don't ask that anyone change, but we have learned that growth happens when there is an opportunity to dream of a better future and a foundation to begin stepping towards it.