NEWPORT –– The City of newport has established a homelessness task force to help those who need a leg up.
Homelessness, poverty, social isolation, addiction and violence, as well as other related issues, are all problems the city wants to address by serving the needs of city residents who struggle with these problems.
“This expands the services and resources for people who are homeless,” Newport City Manager Spencer Nebel said. “This includes other services and programs to help the area’s homeless population to help break the cycle of homelessness.”
The intent is to pull together a variety of people in the community who can contribute to solutions the city’s homeless residents face.
“The intent is to pull together folks representing the social aspects of homelessness, the impacts on businesses and neighborhoods,” Nebel said. “This is to try to bring everyone together to determine what sorts of things we can do to address certain aspects of homelessness and also to address the complaints we get from property owners and homeowners.”
Homelessness is a hot-button topic in the city. The Newport City Council passed a panhandling ordinance in October banning the transfer of money, food and other tangible personal property between motorists and pedestrian in a public right-of-way. Problems caused by the homeless population in the city, as well as the problems that drive people to the streets, are issues the city wants to tackle by bringing people in the community together to offer up solutions.
“We’re trying to focus on the social aspects,” Nebel said during Monday’s city council meeting. “We’ve got our law enforcement community represented, we want to have some citizen positions represented. It will be an opportunity to create a forum where we can have a much more specific discussion on what we should and shouldn’t be doing to address this issue.”
At least one city councilor wanted to ensure people in the city’s construction industry, real estate agencies, and several other groups are included on the task force. The list proposed Monday night included Community Services Consortium, Oregon Coast Community College, My Sister’s Place, the Lincoln County School District, the city’s public works department and other groups.
“This is probably not a complete list, but maybe we want to add something about other entities who want to be invited as part of the resolution,” Newport City Council President Dietmar Goebel said.
The city will now contact figures in the community who could have something to contribute to solutions affecting the homeless community in Newport.