Helping Our Unsheltered Neighbors This Winter
Colder weather is here again, and though many of us are fortunate to have a safe warm place to call home, there are neighbors in our community who need our help during these extreme conditions. For those living without shelter, even just a single day or night of severe winter weather – including freezing temperatures, high winds, snow, sleet and ice – is a life-threatening event that requires an emergency response.
That’s why the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) and emergency management officials in Multnomah County and Portland share a rapid-response plan that can scale up to provide the needed response. The plan is centered on a basic commitment: Anyone who needs a warm, dry place will have a warm, dry place to stay. No one will be turned away. I’m sharing this link so you can read about how the JOHS is preparing for severe winter weather along with their operational guidelines. https://multco.us/winter-weather/warming-shelters-and-homelessness
You can help also. These are a few basic ways for you to do that:
• If you see someone outside without shelter, and it appears they might need assistance, please call the non-emergency police line at (503) 823-3333.
• If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call Multnomah County’s 24 – hour crisis line at (503) 988-4888.
• On our coldest nights, when we’ve declared a severe weather emergency, please call 211 if you see someone who needs shelter. During severe weather, no one seeking a shelter bed will be turned away.
Another way you can help is with donations and/or volunteering your time. If you go to 211INFO.ORG, you’ll find links at the top of the page that will let you sign up to train as a warming shelter volunteer. You can also donate winter gear – hats, coats, gloves, sleeping bags and socks – so outreach workers can share them with those most vulnerable to extreme conditions.
Remember, we can make a difference when we work together to keep our neighbors safe, warm and dry this winter. Your compassion and willingness to help your neighbors in need is the reason I'm truly humbled and honored to be your mayor.
Portland Downtown Neighborhood Educational Forum: Understanding Homelessness in Downtown Portland
On November 23rd, the Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association (PDNA) hosted an educational forum on issues surrounding homelessness in downtown Portland. This forum was an opportunity to learn directly from those experiencing homelessness alongside those in our community who lead efforts to better understand the crisis and how we can address it.
I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility as the Mayor of the great city of Portland to do more to address the manifestations of this crisis and to better serve our vulnerable neighbors. The educational forum’s format consisted of different panels with expert panelists, including representatives from the public, non-profit, and private sectors, with a focus on the stories of people in our community who have experienced homelessness.
Better Housing by Design proposals adopted by City Council
On December 18th, City Council voted to adopt the Better Housing by Design (BHD) proposals. The BHD ordinance will expand housing options, address housing affordability and improve design in Portland’s multi-dwelling outside the Central City. BHD is exemplary land use policy that will allow more people to live close to services while also ensuring that outdoor spaces and green elements will be close by. It will help us ask and answer the right questions about how we grow as a city in the coming decades. Those question include:
- Are these changes really going to deliver on providing truly affordable housing?
- Are we reducing barriers and creating flexibility to increase housing options at all income levels throughout the city in connection with other investments like in our transportation system?
- Are we helping our region grow in a way that will help us address our climate crisis?
- Are we supporting livability for people of all ages and abilities living in multi-family housing?
- Are we achieving the right balance between growth and preservation?
I think the BHD proposals are moving us in the right direction on all of these. You can click on this link to read a complete description of what the ordinance will do once implemented. The adopted BHD code and map amendments will become effective on March 1, 2020.
Turning the lights on in Portland’s Living Room
I was delighted to join more than 25,000 Portlanders the day after Thanksgiving, when we gathered in Portland’s Livingroom to attend the tree lighting.
Everyone—including myself—who came out, was there because we enjoy celebrating what the holidays are all about. And I do know that they mean something different to each and every one of us. But I also think we can all agree on this: The holiday season is a time to recognize and reflect on all we are blessed with, and also a time to find ways to make life better for all of our neighbors in the community.
With that, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy holidays!