On Oct. 28, 2022, several county and volunteer groups came together for a new program to provide cleaning and sanitation for homeless encampments, and to build trust with residents and offer them housing and services. Starting on Clackamas Road near Camp Withycombe, the group disposed of 100 cubic yards of debris. Six folks were entered into the coordinated housing access system and connected with services. Food and emergency blankets were provided to camp residents.
The cleanup crew included currently and formerly homeless people, nonprofits LoveOne and The Father’s Heart, the Providence Health Better Outcomes through Bridges team, County Waste Management, the district attorney’s office, and other county staff.
Cleanup volunteer Joey Hernandez, who was formerly homeless and is now housed through the county's supportive housing services program, said it's so important to give back. "One of the hard parts of being homeless is the lack of sanitation and garbage pickup. People shouldn't have to live in the middle of trash. I'm glad the county is doing this cleanup," he said.
“We came out today to build relationships, connect with people, and work to address all the needs of our neighbors, housed and unhoused,” said LoveOne Executive Director Brandi Johnson. “People like to ask what the one solution to homelessness is. There is no one solution. It (homelessness) affects everybody, and it takes all of us doing something like this to help,” she said.
“We’re building relationships with these individuals, so that they trust what we say we’re going to do, and then we do it, and we can actually help them get off the street,” said The Father’s Heart Board President Marty Gant. “That’s the goal, to help them have a better life, a better future. I’m excited to be part of it – it makes a huge impact on everyone around,” he said.