Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-oregon-county-eradicates-homeless-tent-city-by-putting-rough-sleepers-up-in-a-90-strong-‘tiny-home’-pod-village-–-but-locals-are-infuriated-as-it’s-plonked-in-the-middle-of-a-family-neighborhoodAlert – Oregon county eradicates homeless tent city by putting rough sleepers up in a 90-strong ‘tiny home’ pod village – but locals are infuriated as it’s plonked in the middle of a family neighborhood

An Oregon county has eradicated homeless encampments after putting rough sleepers in a 90-strong pod village.

Washington County spent millions on the system moving unhoused individuals into subsidized housing, including the new tiny homes.

For the last two years, most of its homelessness services tax has been spent building 90 pods at three locations.

Outreach workers have, according to local reporting, been able to eliminate seven large and medium-sized encampments.

But the new homeless village has sparked outrage among some, having been plonked in the middle of a housing estate with young families. 

The very small pod structures are meant to be a temporary-ish shelter option for the county's hundreds of homeless

The very small pod structures are meant to be a temporary-ish shelter option for the county’s hundreds of homeless

For the last two years, most of Washington County's homelessness services tax has been spent building 90 pods at three locations

For the last two years, most of Washington County’s homelessness services tax has been spent building 90 pods at three locations

For the last two years, most of Washington County's Metro homelessness services tax has been spent building 90 tiny homes at three locations across the county and expanding its shelter network

For the last two years, most of Washington County’s Metro homelessness services tax has been spent building 90 tiny homes at three locations across the county and expanding its shelter network

The county has spent about 40 percent of the $86million in Metro homelessness tax proceeds it allocated to spend this fiscal year, which ends in June.

But not everyone is happy with the arrangements the county is making to get most of its hundreds of homeless residents off the streets.

The pod villages have to go somewhere, and one of the locations selected for a tiny village was Aloha, Oregon, on the grounds of the Aloha United Methodist Church.

The area is largely populated by the county’s elderly population, some of whom are worried about disruptions to the neighborhood and potential safety concerns.

‘If somebody is a potential hazard, we have the right to know that for our own safety,’ Jim Wassgren, who has lived in the are for 25 years, told ABC15.

‘We’ve invested in a lot of cameras. We have also purchased a security [system] for the house,’ said Allen Ballantyne, who lives just a few doors over from the church.

‘Putting a homeless encampment in a frankly, quite geriatric neighborhood … a lot of old folks and young families living here, right in the middle of that, couldn’t seem like a worst idea to me,’ he said.

The pod villages and other forms of heavily subsidized housing have allowed the county to eliminate controversial homeless encampments

The pod villages and other forms of heavily subsidized housing have allowed the county to eliminate controversial homeless encampments

The pod village in Aloha, Oregon, which opened in February, is made up of 30 pods that are meant to be temporary shelters for homeless individuals

The pod village in Aloha, Oregon, which opened in February, is made up of 30 pods that are meant to be temporary shelters for homeless individuals

The pod village, which opened in February, is made up of 30 pods that are meant to be temporary shelters for homeless individuals.

The area is surrounded by wooden fencing, and there is only one way in and out of the area.

It is what’s called a ‘low barrier’ shelter, meaning individuals will not be drug tested or required to participate in certain programs in order to qualify for a pod.

Those selected for pod-living, however, will have gone through a rigorous selection process, according to administrators at the Washington County Department of Housing Services.

Similar structures have been erected in neighboring Oregon cities, like Portland, where the homeless population has surged in recent years

Similar structures have been erected in neighboring Oregon cities, like Portland, where the homeless population has surged in recent years

Simple interior of a pod, which is meant to serve as temporary housing

Simple interior of a pod, which is meant to serve as temporary housing

The pod structures are based on models of tiny homes, which have skyrocketed in popularity across the US in the last decade

The pod structures are based on models of tiny homes, which have skyrocketed in popularity across the US in the last decade

A pod village where dozens of homeless Washington County residents will find shelter

A pod village where dozens of homeless Washington County residents will find shelter

One such administrator said the county sheriff’s office will be working with the city to keep the pod village and surrounding area safe, and security will be present at all times.

‘I think my message is, anyone who has concerns is to come in [and] to the opening of this program with an open mind,’ she said.

Longtime residents, however, remain wary and say they will be staying vigilant as the community welcomes in residents of the 30 pod units.

‘Well we’re very apprehensive. We constantly hear horror stories about what happens in the other areas and I’ve been by a few of them and they don’t look good,’ said Ballantyne.

‘We’re hoping for the best at this location. We’ve been assured by the county that they have everything under control, but we’re very skeptical.’