Phoebe Gleeson spends a day in Portland, OR being "homeless" and shares her insights.
In fact since we have so many "hippie" types here in the PNW it is hard to tell who is a CEO and who is a homeless guy. Other than the amount of stuff homeless people tend to have to carry around I don't know how you would tell the difference.
It's the aroma. I'm not saying that to be mean, I say that from experience. I worked 8 years at a large grocery store on W 20th & Burnside, where to the near West are the most wealthy in the city, and everywhere around is people sleeping under a bush or an overpass - entire families sometimes. You know the smell of homelessness when you encounter it. In the winter it's infused with campfire. In the summer it's just damp and sweat. It's often accompanied by a fair amount of vomit and urine and worse.
People have to live, people have to sleep, and people have to go to the bathroom. When we turn our backs on them because they're losing the battle, they do those things in our yards, parks, and in our streets. It's not pretty, it's just the "home" that we have made for them.
I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about for the Portland Homeless. I lived and worked with them at least six days a week for nearly a decade, and only left Portland a couple of years ago. Things haven't changed that much.In Portland that's only true for some. They have so many places for the homeless to groom and sleep it's not unusual for them to be pretty clean. Also in the PNW it's not unusual for the CEO hippie to stink because he's using organic deodorant and body cleNsers
PS - Those people who stand on the off ramps with signs in Portland aren't homeless, they get dropped off in shifts by a middle aged woman in a white van. No homeless person DARE try to vie for those spots.I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about for the Portland Homeless. I lived and worked with them at least six days a week for nearly a decade, and only left Portland a couple of years ago. Things haven't changed that much.