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Old 02-04-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Orlando
19 posts, read 76,091 times
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Can anyone compare the amount of homeless in Portland to either Asheville or Key West? It may seem like an odd question, but people keep posting about the problem with homelessness in Portland and A-ville and KWest both have a similar problem. Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:12 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
10,391 posts, read 18,510,748 times
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I haven't been to either Asheville or Key West since before the recession so I don't really know what to say in terms of comparison between those towns.

I HAVE noticed a big increase in the number of homeless on the street in Portland during recent months, but that's been the case almost everywhere.

I CAN tell you that since I spend time in a good number of New England cities regularly, I have noticed that Portland has had the most noticeable increase in the presence of homeless people on the street (personal observation, not actual numeric data) out of all the cities in New England I visit on a regular basis (usually about once a month) which include: Boston, Providence, New Bedford MA (pop: 95,000), Fall River MA (Pop 92,000), Taunton MA (pop 56,000) and Cambridge MA (as well as, of course, Portland). It seems like closer to the center of Portland, almost every even moderately busy intersection has at least one or two homeless people looking for change. This wasn't the case even a year ago. Congress at St. John and St. John at Park and Park at State (and the entire Deering Oaks area) have ALWAYS been notorious for homeless, but many intersections the ENTIRE length of Congress are seeing more and more homeless. I've seen a few over by USM and plenty in the Old Port/ Waterfront area. I've even seen 3 or 4 fighting over a corner. It's gotten progressively worse here, but like I said... I hardly think Portland is the only city where this is happening in this economy.

I saw some information on this website about the number of job losses in Northeastern U.S. cities and Portland had among the highest percentage of its total workforce cut in the region over the past year (I need to find and repost this data... I've been meaning to for a while). This data of course, can easily be related to the increase in homelessness here.

I'd like to see some real numbers (many New England cities have "homeless counts" coming up), but my personal observations have lead me to believe that Portland's homeless population has increased more than most of the other cities I regularly spend significant time in. I could be wrong, but that's what I've noticed simply from driving and walking around these places.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Location: portland, me
839 posts, read 2,099,017 times
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A few homeless people here and there, but totally normal (in my eyes.) It seemed to be a lot worse about eight years ago. I used to see them everywhere, sleeping in the parks, on benches, stoops, etc. I have only had one person use my stoop (its covered) to get out of the rain one night. He was pacing back in forth which was keeping me awake. I told him to stop walking around or take a hike. He politely stopped, and that was that. There are a few intersections where you can find them asking for money/food/work, but while it seems to have increased lately, I believe it is a decline from years past.
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Asheville
1 posts, read 3,286 times
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Default Asheville Homeless

As of 2006, the Census Bureau estimates that Asheville's population is 72,789. I see most accounts now stating very near 100,000
The most accurate count I can come up with for Asheville's homeless is 500.
Sincerely,

Last edited by 7th generation; 04-17-2009 at 05:26 AM.. Reason: new members cannot supply links
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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It's also not a lack of beds or housing that causes Portland's homeless situation. There actually are enough beds and housing assistance, even in the middle of the winter. The issue has more to do with an influx of drugs. Adults (teens as well for that matter) can not utilize the facilities if they will not commit to staying clean. The increase in available drugs for cheap...actually increases the panhandling and reduces the number of people willing to stay clean to stay in a shelter or receive housing assistance.

I can't speak for other cities but my experience with the homeless and underemployed in Portland, tells me that drugs are more easily accessible right now and dealers are selling for cheap because they have plenty and because their cost of living is increasing so they need the cash and don't want to hold on to the stuff.

In speaking with some folks on the frontlines, there is also a theory amongst the panhandlers that since times are tough all over, those with money are more willing to give if they use signs saying..."unemployed" then if using signs saying "homeless". Not sure if that's working for them but that seems to be their going method lately.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:44 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggiecme View Post

I can't speak for other cities but my experience with the homeless and underemployed in Portland, tells me that drugs are more easily accessible right now and dealers are selling for cheap because they have plenty and because their cost of living is increasing so they need the cash and don't want to hold on to the stuff.
Good points, though I do think the commitment to staying clean and accessibility to drugs is not much different in Portland than it is in other cities. what I mean is that I'd have a hard time believing that people in Portland, ME have any more access to drugs than say (for the sake of the thread's namesake), Asheville, NC and both cities do have policies about "staying clean." This is the same everywhere. Drugs, especially the more affordable ones (Rocks, Meth, etc) are easily available in just about any city and most cities have policies on "staying clean" to use shelters.

I think unemployment on the rise everywhere is causing increased homelessness all over. It's certainly not limited to Portland.

As far as the signage goes, I've noticed more "unemployed" signs. I don't know who I give to more regularly (I try to give food or beverages due to the reduced risk of misuse of funds), but I've seen more unemployed signs of late. One guy mentioned to me that writing, "laid off" doesn't work since it implies being "fresh out of work" which would imply that they still have money to spend.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:04 PM
 
9 posts, read 15,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Good points, though I do think the commitment to staying clean and accessibility to drugs is not much different in Portland than it is in other cities. what I mean is that I'd have a hard time believing that people in Portland, ME have any more access to drugs than say (for the sake of the thread's namesake), Asheville, NC and both cities do have policies about "staying clean." This is the same everywhere. Drugs, especially the more affordable ones (Rocks, Meth, etc) are easily available in just about any city and most cities have policies on "staying clean" to use shelters.

I think unemployment on the rise everywhere is causing increased homelessness all over. It's certainly not limited to Portland.

As far as the signage goes, I've noticed more "unemployed" signs. I don't know who I give to more regularly (I try to give food or beverages due to the reduced risk of misuse of funds), but I've seen more unemployed signs of late. One guy mentioned to me that writing, "laid off" doesn't work since it implies being "fresh out of work" which would imply that they still have money to spend.
You certainly may be right about the drug availability. I know that it's quite flush at the moment in Portland and somehow I know (second hand) that there is a Canadian connection that increases it's availability but beyond that I really can't speak much as it's not first hand knowledge.

You're definitely on target regarding the stay clean regulations. So it probably is on par with NC in that regard. When I made that statement I was thinking less of the comparison and more about the "true" homeless situation.

I tend to give to the Parkside folks since I drive by them everyday. I'm a cash giver..while it may be used inappropriately at times, in my estimation, I believe that every time it's a choice for them and for me. Honestly, only once in the last several months have I felt that the money would be used inappropriately. Most of the time the people I give to have been very polite, appreciative and they stay in their spot and continue to ask even after I've driven away. The one time I felt that the person was about to buy something he shouldn't, I knew it because he took my money, with an insincere thank you and literally bolted out of the park to the gas station. Ah well. We live and learn. I certainly am more compelled when I see new faces.

There as a very dark black man and then a woman recently in the parkside area which was actually surprising to me. Most of the immigrant community sources income within the Portland support system and their own community so it's been odd to see both a few folks that appear to be from the african immigrant community on the street. It was actually sad for me to see them in parkside as it's usually older, white men often vets that are there and which I've become accustomed to.

We actually have some of the best resources in Portland.....at least on the peninsula, compared to many other cities. Wayside soup kitchen and Preble St resource do a phenomenal job not to mention the lunch program at the Cathedral and all the available shelters. I think Portland does pretty well.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,323 posts, read 23,798,894 times
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Asheville has more of a homeless transient population; hippies, crusty punks, migrant workers, etc. They are just traveling around from place to place.

Portland has a lot of homeless, but Portland also has a lot of shelters, so you will not see too many people sleeping in random spots outside like you would in warmer climates. Portland also has some of the best resources for homeless people (I believe in the country, more than likely a per capita thing). Along with the shelters there are also numerous soup kitchens, subsidized housing is mixed into non-sub housing (including 'luxury') throughout the city, and Government Assistance/welfare in this state is easy to get and their is no encouragement from the government to get off of it.

As far as numbers are concerned, I dunno. I'd say that Portland has more.
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