On Monday, Portland and Multnomah County officials announced their joint plan to use $ 38 million in excess dollars to provide immediate relief to people who sleep on sidewalks or in their cars.
The highlight: the city and the district want to jointly buy or lease four new properties in order to accommodate 400 new emergency shelters in motels, collective accommodations and pods.
The city is expected to contribute $ 5 million for the new housing, while the county will provide $ 13 million.
“Up to 400 new protective beds, including collective shelters, motel rooms and sleeping cabins, that get people out of the elements and provide connections to health and housing services,” the joint statement said. “The Joint Office of Homeless Services and Multnomah County are currently pursuing the purchase or lease of four new locations.”
Later this month, city and county commissioners will vote on whether to approve spending from the proposed budget.
Part of the proposed funding will also be used to fill behavioral health teams in the Old City, tasked with de-escalating crisis situations as needed, with an increase in psychotic episodes interrupting meal times.
Other allocations include $ 4.8 million for warehouse and sanitation facilities for 250-300 warehouses along the streets of Portland, $ half a million for garbage disposal, and the training of about 25 field workers who âget to work quickly in city-wide locations high influence, including Old “Town Chinatown and also around existing animal shelter sites.”
Another $ 1.4 million will be used to expand reach in unauthorized warehouses across the city.
One point could catch the ire of service providers and homeless attorneys: $ 6.5 million for the city’s Impact Reduction Program, the team that runs camp sweeps. Only the city funds this line item.
The plan for the combined $ 38 million one-time allocation for the city and county is the result of weeks of meetings between city and county officials. Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury first approached the mayor’s office earlier this month and offered to pool some of the excess funds to tackle the homelessness crisis.
The reach of the chair was a welcome but unexpected olive branch for the city. The county and the city have long been at odds over how best to tackle the homelessness crisis, with the majority of the county focusing on creating long-term housing while the city pushing for more immediate solutions.