OASIS: The Old Town Alternative Safe Sleep Initiative
Please help Portland’s Old Town community address the humanitarian crisis in the Old Town neighborhood (Chinatown, Japantown, Ankeny Plaza, Skidmore and Waterfront). The most vulnerable during COVID-19 are the unhoused residents who are stranded on the streets.
The Old Town Community Association (OTCA) has partnered up with committed Old Town unhoused and housed residents, businesses, social service agencies, and other stakeholders to create a safer neighborhood by starting The Old Town Alternative Safe Sleep Initiative (OASIS).
OASIS aims to raise funds to help unsheltered people currently residing in Old Town who need to relocate safely to places that provide refuge, relief, and essential resources. Primary funding will be used for safety services, sanitary stations, and coordination.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people experiencing homelessness are migrating from all over Portland and other areas to Old Town because of readily available social services. Sadly, many social services agencies are at capacity and unable to serve everyone in need. At last count, there were 180 tents on our streets, with an average of two occupants per tent equaling 360 people. There are only three toilets and one portable shower service available on the street. Camping on the streets is unsafe and unsanitary. Unhoused communities desperately need healthier places to be during the pandemic.
COVID-19 funding allocated by the City, County, and State to address the dire humanitarian crisis on our streets has been inadequate. Portland’s Homeless Services Tax, (Measure 26-210) will not go into effect before 2021 and the Portland Street Response, a non-police first responder system for street crisis, is postponed to February 2021, at the earliest. We need the OASIS initiative to help our fellow human beings get to safer places.
You can help to mitigate today’s crisis. Please consider a donation to the OASIS initiative to help those in need. The OASIS efforts have begun, and your donation will enable us to maintain our momentum and continue to fuel our work to help more people in need.
How OASIS donation money will be spent:
The Old Town Community Association (OTCA) Response Action Team has four workgroups dedicated to this humanitarian crisis. These 4 groups are the Ambassadorship Work Group, the Sanitation Stations Work Group, the Business Accessibility Work Group, and the Alternative Shelters and Villages WorkGroup. The funding raised in this initiative will support the Ambassador Program, sanitation needs, and relocation assistance for safer sleeping areas.
Ambassador Work Group: Ambassadors are community members with experience living on the streets. They will help facilitate communication among members in the community including those living on the streets, residents, Old Town businesses, and their employees, students, and visitors. Ambassadors encourage building relationships by bridging gaps in understanding with everyone’s respective lived experience and facilitate solutions. Ambassadors will be paid to do this work through an expansion of 3 existing outreach programs: Rose City Resource, Can We Help? and Transformation Network’s Street Outreach Program.
Sanitation Work Group: The Sanitation Work Group is led by a team of people with expertise in the design, delivery, and placement of short-term porta-potties and sanitation stations. They are working on expanding access to sanitation on the street level by locating permanent and short term units.
Business Accessibility Work Group: The Business Accessibility workgroup focuses on improving access to businesses, tourism, educational institutions, and social services within the Old Town community.
Alternative Shelters and Villages Work Group: The Alternative Shelters and Villages Workgroup is looking at all safe viable spaces available across Portland identifying safe sleep areas for unsheltered individuals to safely relocate to during this crisis.
Thank YOU for your support!
If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions please, send them through our link at GoFundMe.
A team member from the OTCA will get you an answer as soon as possible. We will be posting regular updates on how the funds are spent. We encourage you to please share this link with all your friends, family, and colleagues who share your passion for supporting those most vulnerable in Portland’s oldest and cherished neighborhood.
Listen to Joy Church discuss the situation in Old Town during the pandemic, street demonstrations, housing crises, and more.