New Portland program buys tickets out of town for homeless; Firs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New Portland program buys tickets out of town for homeless; First recipient comes to Spokane

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Dillon Hendershot arrived in Spokane from Portland Friday morning Dillon Hendershot arrived in Spokane from Portland Friday morning
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane's population increased by one early Friday morning when 18-year-old Dillon Hendershot arrived in town courtesy of the City of Portland. 

Portland recently launched a city-funded program called "Homeward Bound" that aims to ship homeless people out of town to wherever they want to go. In Dillon's case, after being ditched by friends in the Rose City and living on the streets of Portland, he chose to come to Spokane to be with his family. Portland paid for his $82 bus ticket and Thursday night, Dillon got on a bus headed for the Lilac City. 

Homeward Bound officially began on Thursday and so far at least 40 homeless people are looking to take advantage of the program. Dillon expressed interest in leaving and worked with a local non-profit, who interviewed him and his Spokane-area family in the process, who confirmed that once Dillon arrived in Spokane, he could live with them. Dillon told KHQ Friday morning he's planning on first going to see his grandma in Elk. 

Portland will buy a homeless person a bus, airline or train ticket out of town if they want to leave and qualify. They'll even give them gas money if they have a car. However, nothing happens until staff can confirm a family member or friend in their destination city will be there to pick up the homeless person and get them back on their feet. 

"That program isn't just to get you out of Portland. It's not just shipping you out of Portland, you know?" Dillon told KHQ on Friday. "Wherever you're going there's going to be other resources. Don't ever be afraid to look, you know? It's just people are scared in this world and you really can't be. It's and open world. It's your world. You got to take and make what's best of it."

In three months, a follow up will be done with the participant and if they find they are homeless again, the program will put them in touch with nonprofits in their new city. 

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