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About Homelessness

Homeless On Wheels

The rise in homelessness shows itself in surprising ways.  The number of families without housing increases.  With no place to go, many survive by living in their vehicles.  Even that comes with great challenges.

From Willamette Week:

OUT OF THE CAR: Edie Richards with sons Chris (left) and Greg in a WinCo lot where they parked while living in their Ford Escape. – IMAGE: Jacob Garcia

Chris Nguyen is a Lincoln High School sophomore who wants to be a civil engineer. He likes to make bows and arrows, scale models of catapults and other medieval weaponry—it helps teach him about how physics works. 

But for five months this year, he had no place for his hobby. Chris, his mother and his older brother lived in the family’s 2002 Ford Escape. They had lost their Southwest Portland apartment when his mother, Edie Richards, couldn’t afford rent increases after one of her two jobs cut back her hours because of the slow economy. 

During the day, Chris went to school. At night the family parked outside 24-hour businesses—the Tigard WinCo or the Shari’s in Hillsboro. And they moved each night unless they ran out of gas money.

“It’s embarrassing to live that way as it is,” Richards says. “But when cops come up and put a spotlight on your car and everyone’s looking at you, it’s just downright awful.”

>> Read the rest of the story and see photos