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Mayor Charlie Hales

City of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

Phone: 503-823-4120

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

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Mayor, Chair Kafoury announce $30 million for housing, homelessness emergency

State of emergency press conference

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2015 — Today Mayor Charlie Hales and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced a $30 million commitment by the City and County to A Home For Everyone, a community partnership that is working to achieve a shared value: No one should be homeless; everyone needs a safe, stable place to call home.

The commitment follows Mayor Hales’ announcement that he would ask City Council to consider declaring a state of emergency on housing and homelessness

“This creates an even greater sense of urgency around A Home For Everyone’s strategic plan,” Mayor Hales said. “We’ve tried slow-and-steady. We’ve tried by-the-book. It’s time to add the tools we currently lack.

“For too long we have stayed rooted in some realization that these problems can’t be solved overnight,” the mayor continued. “I want to move us to asking ourselves daily what problems can be solved tonight.

$30 Million

Mayor Hales and Chair Kafoury committed to a $30 million investment in housing and homelessness — $20 million from the City, $10 million from the County. The City’s $20 million will come from new and existing sources, identified through budget processes.

How It Will Be Used

A Home For Everyone will use the $30 million to fund shelter beds for women and families, and for new affordable housing units, including mental health housing and protections for tenants who are facing housing instability because of a dramatic rise in rents. The breakdown: With $10 million, A Home For Everyone plans to create 250 more units for homeless people. Another $5 million would be used for shelter operations; $2.5 million for eviction prevention; and $12.5 million for housing placement, rent assistance and support services. 

This is in addition to funds already dedicated to housing and homelessness, including:

  • $100 million in Mayor Hales' 2015-16 budget; 
  • $150,000 for veterans’ housing assistance in the City's Spring 2015 supplemental budget;
  • $126,000 in that supplemental budget to extend operations of two women’s shelters to the entire year.

State of Emergency

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Council will consider the mayor’s proposal to declare a state of emergency. A state of emergency would allow the city to expedite permitting and citing for shelters and for building more housing units, allowing for a less costly and time-consuming process. In practice, this means that it would be easier to cite shelters, and won’t take six months and $30,000 to open a shelter.


Meanwhile, the City will continue to implement the Mayor’s Homelessness Initiative, which includes:

  • House Homeless Veterans: The City and Multnomah County are working to house all of Portland’s homeless veterans by Christmas. There were over 600 veterans living outside; now there are around 200 who still need homes. 
  • High-Intensity Street Engagement Program: The City has contracted with Cascadia Behavioral Health to house people who face the greatest barriers to housing.
  • One-Point Contact System: Beginning in October, there will be one point of contact to report all behavior-based issues, across city, county, state and other jurisdictions. 
  • Day Storage Pilot Program: Two storage sites — one on the east side, one on the west side — at which houseless people may leave their belongings for the day will open in October.

And City Council will continue to address housing-related issues, including:

  • Today, Sept. 30: Accept the State of Housing Report [PDF]
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7: Consider declaring a State of Emergency on Housing and Homelessness
  • Thursday, Oct. 8: Work session on the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13: Work session on TIF set-aside
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28: Affordable Housing Nexus Study

Mayor Joins #ClimateMayors in Twitter Discussion ahead of Paris Climate Conference

Mayors across the country will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference

FRIDAY, OCT. 30, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales on Friday joined mayors from across the country in a Twitter discussion about climate action.

The #ClimateMayors convened digitally 30 days ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where they are calling on the United States to demonstrate powerful leadership and steer the Paris talks toward a strong agreement that would lead to measurable improvements in the world's climate, human health, and quality of life. 

Today the mayors also released the Compendium of City Climate Action (, detailing emission reduction targets, key policies, and new actions in 30 municipalities.

See a sample from the Twitter discussion below. For all the answers from mayors across the country, click here!


City Works with Service Providers for Mayor's Homelessness Initiative

The initiative rolls out pieces of Mayor Hales' $100 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness services.

Mayor Hales and partners

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.'"