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‘It’s a humanitarian issue’: Redmond church hosts forum, panel talk on homelessness

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- At Mountain View Fellowship Church in Redmond, a forum Thursday evening focuses on homelessness, bringing the community together to discuss solutions. Six speakers were represented -- non-profits, law enforcement, economic development, the faith community and education.

"It's a humanitarian issue," Pastor Rick Russell, one of the speakers on the panel, said earlier Thursday,

"It's not good we have people of our community who are being pushed into these unstable housing conditions," he said.

Russell said sometimes people will move out to the perimeter of town, with many on the east side of Redmond.

"I think that the state has estimated that homelessness has grown over the last several years by 80% in our county," he said. "I can tell you anecdotally, we see more people showing up in cars, in vehicles, living out of RVs." 

The number of people on the streets in the Redmond are is increasing, as well as the number of students. The Homeless Leadership Coalition Point In Time Count notes the total number of youth experiencing homelessness continues to climb.

"We have kids that are homelessness, and they are in our school system, so it's really great to have partners like the homelessness liaison with the school district there to speak for those kids, and to speak to what their experiences is and how we can better support them," Russell said.

Another panel speaker, Steve Curley, the director of Redmond Economic Development Inc. shared what he hopes people focus on. 

"It seems to group everyone into one big bucket, and we put 'homeless' or 'houseless' on it -- and the issues are more complex than that," Curley said. "There are so many factors that contribute to that."

Russell added, "I think there's a great opportunity right in front of us to really seize this moment and provide a better solution for unhoused individuals, as well as all the other partners in our community. Homelessness is directly impacting our airport, our fairgrounds, a lot of our businesses in town. And I think if we can work together well, we can really bring some solid solutions." 

The goal of the panel is to overcome barriers -- groups are working together on the issue of homelessness. The public is invited to submit questions at Let's Talk Redmond dot com.

Article Topic Follows: Redmond
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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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