Portland homeless woman says that being on the streets is a ‘piece of cake’

A homeless woman on the streets of Portland bragged about the perks of living on the streets, including the free meals and ability to be high all day.

Wendy, a homeless woman, dove into the homeless crisis in the city by explaining how the almost open-air drug policies are bringing more tents onto the streets.

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, and the ordeal has also led to the skyrocketing use of cocaine, heroin, LCD and meth which officials decriminalized in 2020.

‘It’s a piece of cake really that’s why you probably have so many out here really because they feed you three meals a day and don’t have to do sh*** but stay in your tent and party,’ Wendy told Kevin Dahlgren with community engagement organization We Heart Seattle.

To which Dahlgren responded: ‘I appreciate the honesty, it doesn’t feel like that’s really helping anybody.’

‘It’s not, that’s why you see all the tents – people are up all night and sleep all day,’ Wendy said.

Wendy, a homeless woman, was candid about the benefits of living on the streets in Portland, Oregon. The city’s almost open air drug policy has led to more tents on the streets, she said

Wendy is a hairdresser who has been living on the streets for months. She is formally from Florida and became homeless when she divorced her husband.

She said someone had stolen her dentures about six months ago and has not been able to return to work.

‘They do that here,’ Wendy said. I can’t get new ones because I just went the first one paid for, so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

‘I can’t go to work without teeth.’

It is unclear where Wendy gets her meals everyday, but there are several homeless organizations in Portland that serve the community.

Some outreach services provide clothes and food while others provide behavioral health services, transitional housing and addiction help.

Portland decriminalized small amounts of meth, cocaine and heroin in 2020

Portland decriminalized small amounts of meth, cocaine and heroin in 2020

Some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks

Some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks

Days later, Dahlgren returned to Wendy’s tent and told her that her story inspired others to set up a fundraiser to buy her new dentures.

‘I used to be just like everyone else, I used to have a really good job… I had a salon in Washington State, I drove a Lexus, and a house – and I loved to do hair,’ she said.

The video saga of Wendy posted by Dahlgren on Twitter led to her brother and ex-husband finding her. They are now in the works of reconnecting.

‘You found my sister,’ John Mitchell wrote in a Tweet to Dahgren. Thanks Kevin for posting this. We knew she was homeless and probably in Portland but that’s about all. Thank you for being nice to her.’

Dahlgren (left) later returned to Wendy's tent and told her that her story inspired others to set up a fundraiser to buy her new dentures

Dahlgren (left) later returned to Wendy’s tent and told her that her story inspired others to set up a fundraiser to buy her new dentures

The video saga of Wendy posted by Dahlgren on Twitter led to her brother and ex-husband finding her

The video saga of Wendy posted by Dahlgren on Twitter led to her brother and ex-husband finding her

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city

Residents in Democrat-led Portland said in November that the escalating crime and homelessness is affecting their way of life and safety.

Some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash – and the issue is scaring away both locals and tourists.

In 2019, the city recorded just over 2,000 homeless individuals.

Three years later, that number has risen by 50 percent, now at more than 3,000 living on the streets.

In October 2022, Portland’s Democratic mayor announced plans to shut down the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said Portland’s homeless problem was a ‘vortex of misery’.

The mayor said: ‘The magnitude and depth of the homelessness crisis in our city is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.’

He also added that the banning of the unsanctioned encampments across the city would make way for the construction of 20,000 units in the coming years.

But the mayor said construction on the units would take place over the next decade.

‘We need to move our scattered, vulnerable homeless population closer to the services they need,’ Mayor Wheeler said.

In October 2022, Portland's Democratic mayor announced plans to shut down the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city.  Pictured: Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to the press at Portland's City Hall on August 30, 2020, Oregon.

In October 2022, Portland’s Democratic mayor announced plans to shut down the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city. Pictured: Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to the press at Portland’s City Hall on August 30, 2020, Oregon.

In October 2022, Portland's Democratic mayor announced plans to shut down the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city.  Pictured: Homelessness in Portland, Oregon, picture undated

In October 2022, Portland’s Democratic mayor announced plans to shut down the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city. Pictured: Homelessness in Portland, Oregon, picture undated

Residents in Democrat-led Portland said in November that the escalating crime and homelessness is affecting their way of life and safety.  Pictured: Homelessness encampment in Portland, Oregon, picture undated

Residents in Democrat-led Portland said in November that the escalating crime and homelessness is affecting their way of life and safety. Pictured: Homelessness encampment in Portland, Oregon, picture undated

It is estimated that there are almost 7,000 people experiencing homelessness in the Portland metropolitan area.

Multnomah County counted 6,633 people as experiencing homelessness on the night of January 26, 2022.

Homeless statistics can be difficult to verify as individuals will move around each day.

Of the 6,633 people counted as homeless, 3,611 were living on the street and in homeless encampments, and an additional 2,222 people were sleeping in the city’s shelters. A further 800 more were in transitional housing.

The rise in homelessness has also led to an increase in crime in the city.

It is understood that there were some 93 homicides in Portland in 2022. The city police department’s data is yet to confirm this number however, only releasing statistics up until October of this year identifying 82 murders.

This number would set a new record for murders in 2022, up from the previous year’s record of 88 in 2021.

This smashed past the murder rate in 2020, where there were 57 homicides in comparison.

Since 2020, the state of Oregon legalized a series of personal-use hard drugs after voters approved the ballot measure. Possession of personal-use amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs were legalized.

Since then drug overdose deaths in the state hit an all-time high in 2021 with 1069, a 41 percent increase from 2020.

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