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Homeless Advocates Criticize Oregon’s Relocation Program (People Given One-Way Tickets Out of Town!)

Critics question relocation program
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Homeless advocates are calling for an assessment of homeless relocation programs across the country, saying they don’t work.

Portland, Oregon, is one of a number of cities that have taken in homeless people sent there from cities such as San Francisco and even St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Homeless Bound program in San Francisco has paid for bus tickets for nearly 5,000 people to leave since its inception. According to program officials, they are given only if someone in the other city is willing to receive or help that person. St. Petersburg has a similar program and half of its $30,000 budget comes from taxpayer funding.

Portland officials don’t know exactly how many homeless have relocated from such programs. St. Petersburg alone has sent 13 to Portland since 2002. Portland has been a destination for many homeless, as they have been told there are better opportunities there.

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman didn’t directly say if the city agrees or disagrees with the idea:

I don’t think police officers are handing out, or social service providers are handing out bus tickets just saying, ‘One way tickets to Portland here. Get out of town’”

However,  many homeless advocates, including Portland’s Ibrahim Mubarak, say the program is just sweeping homelessness under the rug. While statistics are difficult to track, critics say the percentage of people who remain homeless after relocating are alarmingly high.

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