Livability can be challenging on many fronts and the impact can be felt in nearly every aspect of the community. It is difficult to experience trying circumstances, and it is equally challenging to see this vulnerable population on display in public spaces. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is empathetic to all of these needs and has a team of dedicated individuals working, in collaboration with local service providers, to address livability and homelessness in our community.
MCSO’s Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement
(HOPE) Team works day-in and day-out to build networks with service providers and create trustworthy relationships with vulnerable populations in the field to connect them with needed services. The Team also conducts and facilitates clean-up efforts to mitigate public health hazards in our community. HOPE’s goal is to provide a peacekeeping response to neighborhood and business livability complaints through a process which treats everyone involved with dignity and respect.
Nuisance crimes can be associated with homeless encampments, as these provide clusters of potential crime victims and perpetrators. Members of the HOPE Team are in a unique position to assist because of the nature of our law enforcement capabilities such as being available 24/7, the ability to make field contact, and having the background to distinguish criminal activity. Deputies have the training and capacity to keep everyone safe despite the unpredictable and open environment. Members of the HOPE Team are able to engage with individuals in any public space; recreational areas, highway right of ways, parking lots, business fronts, and more. From managing complaints related to RV parking and illegal encampments, to contacting a family of three living in a car or a homeless veteran living in a tent, HOPE deputies have made hundreds of initial and follow up contacts providing basic resources and support to individuals.
MCSO recognizes many subsets of livability are systemic issues: lack of affordable housing, employment, mental health and addiction services, and more all contribute to the challenges of livability. By making multiple contacts in the field with people who are seeking assistance, we are able to start them down a path of change. For those who are in apparent need and refuse assistance and services, we never give up and continue to exercise a balanced approach to lead them to improved circumstances. By developing and maintaining trust with individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and a focus to connect them to available, appropriate services, the HOPE Team is able to find positive outcomes that reduce tension in our community.
Read Sheriff Reese’s Executive Statement regarding Neighborhood Livability here: ∙ Executive Statement on Neighborhood Livability in Multnomah County - 08/11/2017