Working to help people living on Portland streets right now is a serious struggle, and the pandemic’s made it more difficult, according to one local leader.
Dr. Sharon Meieren is an emergency physician, and a Multnomah County Commissioner.
“It has been awful.”
That’s how she describes the situation for Portland’s houseless during the pandemic.
“All providers that I talk to, that do outreach on the streets have just seen such an escalation of the need,” she said.
Dr. Meieren works with the Portland Street Medicine group.
She describes, “An escalation of the severity of the behavioral health issues that we’ve traditionally seen but are so, so beyond the pale right now.”
She spoke to doctors at the annual Oregon Medical Association Meeting this weekend.
“We need to actually count who’s living outside and understand who it is and have some data and outcome strategies, to know where we’re going, where we want to be so we can work toward that, effectively.”
Dr. Meieren is also seeking solutions to the crisis, as a Multnomah County Commissioner. She told the doctors at the meeting, “I know things feel out of control to a lot of people I hear from.”