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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

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