February 14, 2022
Contact: Jessica LaVigne, Campaign Manager
Tobias Read: “We need a statewide response to homelessness”
Beaverton, OR – Treasurer Tobias Read, Democratic candidate for Governor, released the following statement today in support of additional funding for local governments to address the homelessness crisis.
“I strongly support mayors from across Oregon in their call for emergency funding for temporary homeless shelters across the state. Addressing this crisis should be a top priority of the Governor and the legislature in this special session.
For the last decade, under the leadership of Former Speaker Kotek, the homelessness crisis has gotten worse. A bill she sponsored prevented cities from enforcing camping bans but never funded the thousands of additional shelter spaces that were needed. And the state continued to under-invest in providing Oregonians with access to drug and alcohol treatment, and our community mental health system. This has left our cities and towns on their own to deal with this worsening crisis.
Addressing homelessness requires a comprehensive solution. We are behind in the construction of housing units in Oregon by over 100,000 units. Roughly two-thirds of all Oregonians experiencing mild mental illness did not receive mental health treatment. Our State Hospital has been in violation of court orders for failing to adequately take in patients. And we have among the highest per capita percentages of methamphetamine, opioid, and heroin use in the country, while we spend among the least to provide drug and alcohol treatment. We need real solutions to this crisis.
We cannot afford to wait years for permanent, affordable housing to be built. It’s time to be honest that what we have been doing is not working. We urgently need a new approach that will focus on getting people off the streets and out of harm’s way, into safe, clean shelters and converted hotels.
There’s nothing compassionate about letting people sleep outdoors surrounded by trash, drugs and the threat of assault. It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to families who deserve to be able to use our parks and public spaces, nor our small businesses who depend on customers who have been scared away.
As Governor I’ll work directly with cities and counties to coordinate a state-wide response that provides $75 million of emergency funds to build out temporary shelters and ensure every person experiencing homelessness has a safe, clean place to live and access to mental health, addiction treatment and job services. I’ll convene community leaders, financial leaders, and local governments to identify ways to expedite the construction of more housing.”