Portland leaders announce homeless-assistance initiative

City plans a multi-faceted approach to better help the homeless population.

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Portland leaders unveiled a multi-faceted approach to better help the homeless population.

The initiatives include a High-Intensity Street Engagement effort between the city of Portland and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare to focus housing placement and retention efforts, including culturally specific wraparound services, for people who need the greatest amount of support. It will start in September.

The program will include other service providers, such as 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.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

Mayor Charlie Hales held a press conference with Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, and Dr. Derald Walker, chief executive officer, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare to announce the new plan.

The city will turn two, 53-foot cargo boxes into storage units where homeless people can leave carts and belongings during the day. There will also be a dumpster and bathrooms on the site.

“Having some place for people to leave their cart or leave their things, or use a restroom, is better than the status quo. It’s not good, permanent housing, but it’s better than the status quo,” Hales said. 


The visibly-growing homeless population has irked some business owners in the city and advocates have confronted Hales at public events for his inaction in helping.

The announcement comes one month after the Portland Business Alliance called on the city and Multnomah County to spend more on homeless services, beef up enforcement and provide more shelter beds.

Hales described Portland’s homelessness issues as a “tragedy” that creates “appalling” situations for those on the streets, and visible – and unpleasant — side effects for everyone else. He said the city is already enforcing the law and “cannot simply chase this problem around with law enforcement.”

But the mayor said his spending plan, approved in the 2015-16 budget, won’t begin to address most of the more than 2,000 people sleeping outside in Multnomah County.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)


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