Homelessness in Portland is on the rise.
There are so many elaborate setups considering the tenuous, temporary nature of the situation.
I dug that this guy had his plants & decorations in spite of being in an area that they'll likely have to leave soon. There's a fair amount of decorations in & around camps & I love that. It's nice to see care extend. It makes me think of Buddhists creating intricate mandalas in the sand, next to the ocean...
Talking with people experiencing homelessness has been important to me my whole life. I used to keep a notebook of interviews, where I'd invite a guy or gal to coffee or food & collect their stories of how, where, what, why... when they were willing.
It's important work, as there are so many stories that lead people to this state of existence. Obvs. I think the only way for us to be invested in people, animals, the earth, any cause at all, really- is to be familiar with it. To know a persons story is to gain compassion & humanize. To know a name, an interest, a bit of history of a person is to be able to relate. I think it's one of the only bridges to change.
I've known people from doing my scrappy little interviews who'd told me they chose homelessness on purpose; they feel bad for US- all those responsibilities, that paperwork, etc... I should get back on the horse & try to carve out a percentage of people from a control group of 100 that say they choose it, vs being piled under unpaid hospital bills, divorce, injury, mental illness, loss of work... Anyone want to do some leg work with me? It's actually pretty fulfilling & people can be a lot more welcoming than you might expect... After all- a lot of folks need to be more open to each other than in our "high society" for protection & help... We can start with donuts or water & a notebook again...