Almost immediately after funding for Metro’s Supportive Housing Services Measure was received, Multnomah County and the Joint Office of Homeless Services began pouring those dollars directly into the community. In total, nearly two dozen programs have been launched since July 1, when funds first became available.
Thanks to these funds, accommodations are under construction and serve the people.
Outreach teams and cleaning programs are being discontinued.
Behavioral health caseworkers help clients find accommodation.
And tenants find a permanent home with care offers.
Many more programs are coming in the next few weeks. The Joint Bureau has worked hard to adapt to changing conditions, to speed up some programs and in some cases to add more services than originally planned. Metro has required every county that receives funding to submit a more detailed progress report for the first quarter this fall. In the meantime, Multnomah County and the Joint Bureau have prepared this preliminary update to share the first highlights of work so far.
But first, what is supportive housing and how does it help end homelessness?
Supportive housing is a well-established approach to effectively ending homelessness for those who have experienced prolonged and repeated homelessness. It recognizes that for some people live first doesn’t just mean living. It has emerged as a way, at both local and national levels, to cut things down even more than emergency shelter or other non-residential services like avoidable emergency room visits, prison bookings, and inpatient psychiatric stays.
At its core, supportive living is deeply affordable, long-term living. With a rent subsidy, it can be quickly made available in standard apartments or over a longer period of time with newly built affordable housing units. Our community is actively adding both types of housing thanks to the housing support measure and two previous home loans.
Supportive housing units are then linked to services that include access and / or navigation to case management, mental health care, addiction and convalescence treatment, job placement, rental allowance, and other care as needed. Some people move straight from the street to supportive shelter, while others can be brought there from emergency shelters. The goal is not just to help someone regain an apartment, but to support them so that they can stay and thrive in their new home.
ACCELERATION AND EXPANSION OF THE SHELTERS TO REACH THE GOAL OF 400 NEW BEDS THIS YEAR
- New alternative accommodation: The contract is with Beacon PDX, which is under construction in northeast Portland and is scalable. Another contract is concluded with another provider. These sites are in addition to the city’s upcoming Safe Rest Villages and C3PO outdoor accommodations. They are part of a community tender that we published in the spring.
- More than 200 motel rooms beyond our original plan: To add to the 130 motel beds in our original budget, JOHS is considering buying more motels. We also talk to service providers about how they can support the operation of their motels.
- Two more traditional animal shelters will be supported this fall:
- The 80-bed greyhound winter home in the city center will remain open instead of closing in September.
- A 60 bed winter shelter will open at our Lombard (Arbor Lodge) location in North Portland in November so we can use the property while we also plan and build a long term shelter that will open there next year.
ADD OUTREACH AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TEAMS TO SUPPORT PEOPLE ON OUR STREETS
- Quadrupling the number of navigation teams: Three new five-person navigation teams are hired, four in all. These teams support effective campsites with health, shelter and home navigation.
- Doubling mental health street work capacities: The SHS funding will double the capacity of a current provider, Cascadia Behavioral Health, to provide clinical and peer mental health support and residential connections to those without housing.
- Adding more addiction recovery navigators: This partnership between the Joint Office and the Behavioral Health Department will give more people access to addiction treatment services.
LAUNCHING CLEARANCE AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT WASTE COLLECTION
- Establishing a cleanup program for East County: Cultivate Initiatives has a contract to provide professional training and cleaning services and is building its team.
- Expansion of a city-wide garbage collection program: A contract is being prepared to support an expansion of the work of Trash 4 Peace.
- Relaunch of the program to clean up the volunteer corps: Central City Concern is relaunching a program that involves people who are homeless in a structured volunteer corps as part of an advancement to get back into work.
HOMELESS NEIGHBORS, NOW ENTERTAINED WITH RENTAL SUPPORT
- Obtaining apartment keys and support services for people on our streets and accommodations: A newly introduced local version of the state Section 8 Rent Subsidy Program is currently helping people move into marketable housing by helping them pay their rent. Other customers are now moving into affordable buildings operated by nonprofits. Our goal is to help 1,300 households with housing this year.
- Living now for behavioral health customers: The Department of Health’s Assertive Community Treatment program agents finally have rental money in their hands that they can combine with the services they offer to their most needy clients. about 100 people.
- Preventing New Waves of Unprotected Homelessness: We are responding to the evolving crisis in our community by offering rental allowances and legal aid to people who would otherwise be forcibly displaced and end up on our streets.