Gift Cards Used As Incentive To Clean Homeless Camps

City of Hillsboro Police Department Officers Jason Becker and Mike Abshier had an idea for how to enlist help in cleaning up a homeless encampment.

Ask the people experiencing homelessness to lend a hand and, in return, they would receive a restaurant gift card.

With gift cards in hand, Officers Becker and Abshier tested the idea last week during an organized cleanup event. The officers, who are who are part of the Hillsboro Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team, asked people sleeping in camps on property owned by Clean Water Services and at Dairy Creek Park to get involved in the cleanup.

It proved successful as six people experiencing homelessness assisted in bagging garbage and bringing it to the parking lot, where the officers disposed of the garbage.

Before and after pictures (attached) tell the story of the difference the cleanup made.

“This is a great way for our Crisis Intervention Team to make connections, build relationships, and establish a rapport with those we are seeking to help,” said Officer Becker. “It’s also an opportunity for us to educate people in these encampments about the time and work that it takes for City employees to clean up trash that’s left behind.”

The cleanup also got help from the Police Department’s Code Compliance Team, the City of Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department, and the City Manager’s Office.

Metro’s RID Patrol and staff from Washington County’s Department of Health and Human Services also assisted in the cleanup and engaged with those experiencing homelessness.

“Hopefully, the people who helped us clean this homeless encampment will remember this experience and help keep the area clean in the future,” said Officer Abshier.

Source: Hillsboro Police

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