In My Home
Portland is in the midst of a housing crisis. We live in one of the most gentrified cities in America, a fact that has prompted newly elected city commissioner Chloe Eudaly to propose an ordinance that would force landlords to pay the moving costs of their tenants after no-cause evictions, sparking joy and relief among tenants and outrage among local and out-of-state landlords.
On a cloudy Wednesday afternoon in PCC’s Rock Creek Library, students were greeted by a large white poster with tiny black lettering. It read “I care about housing because…” Preceding that, students wrote their thoughts. “…it’s been a very cold winter,” wrote one student. “…everyone needs a safe place to call home,” wrote another.
The questionnaire and interactive polling posters drew a lot of attention and prompted a few to “share their stories” in a small booth located just to the left. “Everyone has to deal with housing in some way; everyone has something to share,” says Chelsea Martin, one of the producers of the project. The booth has visited Southeast, Rock Creek, and Cascade campuses, and will be set up at Sylvania on the 21st and 22nd of February.
The student narratives will be assembled into a short film called In My Home: Personal Narratives About Housing in the Community, and is just one activity put on by PCC for Multnomah County Library’s annual event Everybody Reads.
The event is “designed to support and nurture a community conversation about a book.” This year’s book is Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.
A few of the narratives will be shown at an event on Southeast’s Campus on March 1st at 6PM hosted by a panel of elected officials, local housing advocates, and student community members. The event, Place to Call Home: Personal Narratives and Possible Solutions for Housing in the Community, is a discussion on how to solve the housing crisis.
Martin hopes that these stories will reach someone in need. “Nobody is truly alone no matter how difficult things get and more often than we realize, someone is going through the same struggle. We hope that by collecting a wide range of narratives, we can continue to shed light on the Portland housing crisis and continue the discussion on what can be done to address the situation.”