Established by Mayor Chuck Bennett, the task force is chaired by Councilor Cara Kaser (Ward 1) and will address specific impacts of homelessness in downtown Salem including trash, health, hygiene, and perceptions of safety. They will work toward identifying specific, measurable, and time-bound solutions that make the downtown inviting and welcoming to all Salem residents and visitors. They will also ensure that solutions equitably address the rights of downtown customers, visitors, businesses, property owners, and individuals experiencing homelessness. The task force will examine applying the same recommended downtown solutions to issues in north Salem.
The Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force comprises individuals with a breadth of experiences and roles in the community. Task force members include city councilors, business owners, service providers, neighborhood association representatives, property owners, residents, and advocates for the homeless.
The task force met on February 6, March 6, March 20, and April 4. All meetings were open to the public and written comments were accepted. City staff are now researching the proposed solutions and will return to the Task Force at a future date for the Task Force to consider the feasibility of the various solutions proposed. The Task Force will then make specific recommendations to the City Council.