The initiative rolls out pieces of Mayor Hales' $100 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness services.
THURSDAY, AUG. 20, 2015 – The City of Portland is teaming up with service providers to direct services toward homeless people who face the greatest barriers to housing.
Starting in September, the city and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare will begin the High-Intensity Street Engagement effort, which will focus housing placement and retention efforts, with culturally specific wraparound services, for people who need the greatest amount of support. FACT SHEET
“This is about focusing our services to those residents most at-risk, those most in need of housing and services,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Thanks to our partners, the service providers, we will look to find services for those homeless Portlanders who require more intensive assistance.”
The program and storage area are part of the $100 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness services from Mayor Hales' FY 2015-16 budget. The mayor also allocated nearly $300,000 for homeless veterans and women's shelters in the 2014 Spring budget adjustment.
The High-Intensity Street Engagement will include other service providers, including the Urban League of Portland and the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest. The Neighborhood Response Team of the Portland Police Bureau will work with the service providers as well.
“By coordinating services, this model uniquely tailors engagement, interventions and ongoing critical resources that are specifically designed for the individual,” said Dr. Derald Walker, chief executive officer, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. ”It wraps around healthcare and housing benefits to provide the essentials in life to some of the most vulnerable folks within our community that the rest of us often take for granted. Cascadia is honored to partner with the City of Portland and so many high quality service organization towards this aim.”
Other speakers at the news conference include Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey and Portland Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
Two other programs by the city also were introduced Thursday:
● The city will introduce a one-point contact system for residents who want to report behavior-based issues such as illegal activity or people blocking public space. The city will provide a phone number, email address and texting address that residents can use to report problems for all sites within the city, regardless of which agency owns them.
That program will debut in October.
● Day Storage Pilot Program: Portland is about to unveil two storage sites, on the east and west side, which houseless people may use to leave their belongings for the day. The facilities will be staffed by outreach workers and will include storage space, toilets, sharps containers, and a kiosk of information from service providers.
That program also will debut in October.
● County Commissioner Bailey will discuss the joint venture by the county and city to address homeless veterans. Both governments are working together to provide housing for hundreds of homeless vets in 2015.
"Marc Jolin, initiative director for a Home for Everyone, said the social service providers and police already know the population they're targeting," The Oregonian reports. "And offering social services, public safety resources and behavioral health programs for those people already costs money for every agency, in terms of worker hours. 'We haven't been able to help them be successful with those piecemeal efforts,' Jolin said.
"Better coordination and a significant up-front investment by the city could help turn the tide, Jolin said. 'Once we've helped them get into housing all of those other costs that were have been incurring go away.'"