GRANTS PASS, Ore — A homeless man in Grants Pass is opening up about his struggles living on the streets, as city councilors continue the debate on a housing strategy.
William Hopkins, originally from Monterey county, California, moved in with his daughter in August of 2022. However, Hopkins said he was forced to leave because her building did not allow extra tenants.
He and his dog have been staying in a tent in various parks around the city.
“What I have is what I need to survive,” Hopkins said while showing the materials inside the tent. “You have the police come in every week, moving you out from one park to another. It’s not fair.”
Hopkins works overnight shifts at a local convenience store. He shared that he’s getting back on track financially, but medical issues and unstable housing is setting him back.
“I lost my right eye and my left eye was going so I wasn’t able to work, Hopkins said. “So I had to take out some loans and pay them off, to get to where I am now. ”
Hopkins said he has been getting turned away from apartments based on his appearance.
In February, Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol, noted that the city continues to address the situation. They’ve faced lawsuits in recent years, and has been working to develop and navigation center or overnight shelter.
However, councilors have been unable to agree on a plan. Bristol vetoed the council’s decision to remove items related to helping the homeless, from the city’s priority list.
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Last week, the city of Grants Pass declared a state of emergency.
“This community really needs to do something to address the homeless issue,” Bristol said. “We have homeless people overtaking our parks and its been getting worse the past two years.”
Hopkins is asking for more affordable housing and spaces to be built for the unhoused population.
“A stable place, that’s what we all need,” said Hopkins.
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