Salem Task Force Recommends Several Downtown Homeless Solutions

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​Salem’s Downtown Homelessness Solutions Task Force held their final meeting on Aug. 1, 2018 and approved moving a number of recommendations forward to Mayor Chuck Bennett, including:
  • Provide public toilet facilities that are available 24/7.

  • Provide a hygiene center with showers and laundry facilities to serve homeless individuals in the downtown.

  • Endorse a simplified point of contact system individuals may call for support in dealing with issues related to homelessness and provide the community with easy to understand guidance on when to call 9-1-1 verses the non-emergency number, or the point of contact number.

  • Support the development of additional storage for homeless individuals in need of a safe place to store their possessions during the day.

  • Support alternative ways of giving.

  • Encourage property owners to make building and site modifications that implement Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design and provide Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area grants for improvements that meet grant criteria.

  • Pursue options for expanding downtown cleaning services.

The Task Force chose to revise and combine two draft recommendations. The new recommendation is to:

  • Establish a Downtown Good Neighbor Partnership for those who live, work, shop, and visit downtown Salem that supports appropriate behavior and ongoing dialogue with stakeholders. In conjunction with the establishment of a Downtown Good Neighbor Partnership, City staff will assess Salem codes and ordinances to ensure that the City is appropriately balancing the rights of those who live, work, and shop in our downtown, and providing the City of Salem with the tools needed to address behaviors that negatively impact others. 

The Task Force eliminated the draft recommendation to place limitations on where food can be distributed.

The Task Force was established by Mayor Chuck Bennett and is chaired by Councilor Cara Kaser (Ward 1).

Task Force members include individuals with diverse experiences and roles in the community including city councilors, business owners, service providers, neighborhood association representatives, property owners, residents, and advocates for the homeless. The Task Force was designed to address specific impacts of homelessness in downtown Salem including trash, health, hygiene, and perceptions of safety. They identified specific, measurable, and time-bound solutions that make the downtown inviting and welcoming to all Salem residents and visitors. They also ensured that solutions equitably address the rights of downtown customers, visitors, businesses, property owners, and individuals experiencing homelessness.

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