(Headline USA) Portland officials are considering installing semi-permanent “pods,” or housing units for homeless persons, which could cost city residents millions of dollars per year.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the plan on Tuesday during a virtual town hall, saying the city wants to replace homeless tent cities with “sleeping pods,” Fox News reported.
“Tents will work,” Wheeler said. “But if we can also find a quick way to fund and deliver pods — that would certainly be an improvement, from my perspective.”
The plan includes six large outdoor camps with pods, which Wheeler said he believes would give him the flexibility to ban homeless camping in all public spaces. The pod, according to Wheeler, are “a much more expensive proposition.” The city could pay up to $20,000 per pod, Wheeler admitted.
Wheeler said the plan is supported by Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek, even though he admitted she has raised concerns that he would be creating permanent tent camps in the city.
“One of the concerns that’s been expressed by the governor is that what we’re proposing is a tent camp, and frankly, some of the neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity are concerned about that as well. Now, I could certainly live with that … but the governor feels pretty strongly that it should be more rigid structures like pods. And she’s committed to both helping fund those and secure them, so I think that’s a big step up … it’s greatly appreciated,” Wheeler said.
Kotek stopped short of promising funding for the project, but said she wants to see homeless residents given an option for permanent housing.
“They need to have the land, they need to have the plan, and they need to be sure they can get outcomes with the funding we want to give them. I need to see from the city is them working with the county to get people in the door and out the door into permanent housing. And so, I hope to see that plan soon because that’s what we want to fund from the state,” she said.