Let’s face the facts: No one wants a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. The way that the shelters are run in Portland is horrible. Low- or no-barrier means that all comers are welcome.

I walk by the Portland soup kitchen frequently. I am a male and not the timid type, but it feel unsafe walking the Oxford Street gauntlet.

Have any of you visited the new shelter in Portsmouth? It is clean, well run and several miles from the center of town. The Riverside Industrial Park location is also away from downtown Portland. Some, mostly the homeless industry (and it is an industry), say that it is an inconvenient location. In my opinion, that should not be the concern – it is a bit like the tail wagging the dog.

While we should help the homeless, the homeless should have to make some compromises to receive our help. If they do not like the location of a more remote shelter, then they do not have to use it. They can find a city with a more accommodating location – their choice. But we should not let them dictate where we provide help.

James Bruni


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