Grantees: Right 2 SurviveRight 2 Dream Too
Each night, more than 1,700 people sleep in the cold on Portland’s streets. Federal and local government have not responded adequately to the current economic crisis, so local people have come up with their own solutions, and in Portland, one solution is Right 2 Survive.
Trillium Shannon, a leader with the Portland group Right 2 Survive, explains this group’s perspective. “Housing is a human right. We’d like to see an ordinance created to support people in this emergency situation. We need to stop criminalizing people who are exercising their right to survive.”
Right 2 Survive, organized less than 3 years ago, is organizing to decriminalize homelessness, which includes:
- Getting the Portland camping ban off the books
- Ensuring people have a safe place to make themselves a shelter
- Challenging the stereotypes and stigmas related to people experiencing homelessness
One of their projects, Right 2 Dream Too (R2DToo), has confronted the crisis of homelessness head-on by creating a structured overnight tent sleeping area at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Burnside in downtown Portland that is home to about 70 people experiencing homelessness.
R2DToo has a one-year lease for the property, plenty of neighborhood support and no problems with law enforcement. They have a board of directors, hare receiving community support and have set up their own portable toilet.
In contrast with the community support they’re receiving from others, the city’s response to R2DToo has been to cite the project for establishing an “unpermitted recreational park campground” and for having an unpermitted fence greater than six feet in height. The property owners are being fined $614 monthly as of January 1st, and in three months that is expected to double.
The group has appealed this decision.
Trillium Shannon states, “We know that the city can work with us to permit alternatives to housing for people who are in crisis. The ordinance that they have chosen to cite us for violating, ‘Establishing a Recreation Park Campground,’ is in error, and the appeal process is not accessible for a group comprised of low- or no-income community members who are struggling to meet basic needs.”
The group organized a February 1st public rally for folks to show their support. You can also show your support by contacting Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to tell him that you support the camp and want him to work with them for solutions.
Right 2 Survive is working to ensure that everyone has the right to sleep, shelter, self-support, safety, simple living, sustainability, sit and lie or stand, the right to share and barter… and there’s more.