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Perspectives on How to Address Homelessness and Tents

May 6, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Not since the Great Depression has America faced the level of street homelessness, tent cities and people struggling without a safe place to call home. In Portland alone, over 40,000 people are experiencing housing instability, and 8,000 people are living in tents, cars, and sleeping in doorways each night.

Join SAGE for a two-part series to learn and share views on how to address the challenge of homelessness and people living on streets, sidewalks, and parks.

During our first event on May 6, four esteemed panelists will share their perspective on how Oregonians and people around the country are responding to the ongoing housing crisis on our streets and what we can do about it. We’ll focus attention on the underlying causes of homelessness, offer a historical perspective of how the region has responded, and information about why tents and tent communities have grown in recent years. Guests will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists to learn more about their experience and the solutions at hand.

During our second event on May 12, guests who attend our first event will reconvene and discuss what can be done to address these challenges as individuals or in groups. Together, we’ll share what information we found most helpful from the panelists, any surprises, and our views on what we think individuals, neighbors, groups, businesses, and governments should do. SAGE will close out the series with ideas and resources to support next steps.

Click to register for May 6 event (when you do, you will also be automatically registered for the May 12 event)

Meet our Panelists

Israel Bayer of the International Network of Street Papers will speak to the underlying drivers that cause people to experience homelessness in Portland and around the country. Israel will also highlight the work being done both locally and nationally to support housing justice, including ways you can engage with the larger issue.

Mercedes Elizalde of Central City Concern will highlight the importance of housing, health care and jobs to end homelessness. She will also discuss local programs that help people move toward long-term stability and success and how these programs are organized and funded.

Ashley Henry of Businesses for a Better Portland will reflect on the diversity of views held within the business community and how restaurants, retail establishments, and other businesses are impacted in different ways. She will also speak about business funding for public programs and share examples of initiatives that help people experiencing homelessness.

Jonathan Lewis of the City of Portland will discuss the City’s response under the State of Emergency in Housing and Homelessness and his office’s efforts to manage public space issues until the City, County, and State reach long-term solutions. Jonathan will also highlight how the pandemic has impacted public programs and the problem of homelessness in Portland.

What is the SAGE Citizen Project?

SAGE’s Citizen Project is a series of events focused on trends over the last thirty years that show that Americans are growing increasingly divided along political lines and feeling more contempt and hostility toward others who hold different political views. Through our events, SAGE collects and shares examples of actions that individuals can take to build bridges across divides (e.g., learning about self, listening to diverse views, inviting others to engage, identifying areas to work together).


May 6, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Categories:


OR United States


Steve Higgs