KGW has released the results of a poll conducted by DHM Research in which Portlanders voiced their concerns about the homelessness crisis. To the surprise of no one, the poll reflected the questionable narrative being pushed by business leaders (such as the Portland Business Alliance, and Columbia Sportswear's Tim Boyle) that Portland has become a city whose streets are lousy with needles and human feces, the homeless are taking over, and "why doesn't someone (other than me, of course) do something to stop it??" Here are a few of the polls findings:

34 percent considered moving outside of Portland because of the homelessness problem.
• The average Portlander sees needles/drug paraphrenalia/human waste more than twice a week. [Quick interjection here: While individual results may vary, I walk the Old Town/Chinatown streets practically every day, and have never seen a single needle, and poop only very occasionally (which may have been produced by a dog). However, the other day I did see a bra in a tree.]
• People are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the way homelessness is being handled by (deep breath) the mayor's office, the county, Portland Police Bureau, the business community, local service providers, and me (as in the local media).

But here's a weird thing about these results: While Portlanders have plenty to say, and people to blame regarding the homelessness crisis (and it is a thing, and it is real, despite me only seeing bras in trees rather than stepping on needles every day), most people would clearly rather voice their outrage than something about it. As John Horvick of DHM Research (the conductors of the poll) said to KGW:

While 75 percent of Portlanders say they feel compassion when they think about or see homeless people, 64 percent have not talked to a homeless person about their experience in the past year. Sixty-seven percent oppose allowing homeless people to camp in their neighborhood parks. Only 15 percent said they have contacted a local elected official about homelessness in Portland.

"There's a lot of opportunity for people to be engaged in their own lives to help address homelessness that don't require action from city leaders," Horvick said. "Policy is important but there are things we could be doing and the data suggests most people aren't doing something."

WHAT HE SAID. And in that spirit, here are some ways you can get involved and help the situation, rather than becoming one of the Tim Boyles of the world. Our Emilly Prado offered up a few ideas in her "How to Make a Difference in 2018" story for our "Get Your Shit Together" issue.

Serve a meal in the kitchen at New Avenues for Youth
Distribute emergency food boxes and accept donations at Neighborhood House
Proofread and partake in stapling parties for Street Roots
Build tiny pod villages for houseless veterans with Catholic Charities

Here's more! Attend the "Voices of Homelessness" panel discussion hosted by the League of Women Voters on Tuesday, Feb 13. Help prep and distribute meals at the Community Feed-In at Hughes Memorial Methodist Church every third Saturday. Serve hot soup Monday through Friday at Director Park with the good people of Free Hot Soup. Work with Transitions Projects to help people go from houselessness to housed. Donate food and clothing to the Portland Rescue Mission. Volunteer to help homeless families with children at Portland Homeless Family Solutions. There are even quick things you can do to move the needle on the homelessness crisis with Hands On Portland. And there are tons more volunteer opportunities available—check out our Resistance and Solidarity calendar for more.

But probably one of the most positive things you can do is to not buy into the classist, hateful narrative being spread by "concerned members of the community" with suspect motives.