Our homelessness crisis is a failure of our current political leaders. It’s is more than access to resources. We must address the root causes including lack of mental health and addiction services, the high cost of housing, domestic violence, and loss of income are causing many people living on the cusp to fall into homelessness because they are not receiving the supports needed to stay safely and stably housed.
We must disrupt the system and get people housed, NOW. This situation is a failure of our current political leadership – or lack thereof.
Gentrification is pushing many of the most in need out of the downtown core and inner neighborhoods further away from services. We have the highest rate of houseless LGTBQ youth on our streets, 40% of our houseless youth come from the foster care system and a staggering number come from communities of color and immigrant and refugee communities. I no longer want this to be our Portland Story…
We need a community driven solution and government must welcome new partners to the table and adapt to neighborhood solutions. Complex local problems take complex local solutions. This will need to be a public and private partnership. Government alone has proven it can not win in their silo. We need results!
• EQUITY: Look at the data broken down by race, and the disparities are startling. Accelerate progress for those who have received targeted neglect. Implement culturally differentiated strategies, as one size does not fit all, never has and never will.
• SAFETY: First and foremost our current structure of addressing issues of mental health, addiction services, criminal justice are not being properly addressed because the County and City silos prevent streamlined focused action. As City Commissioner I will accelerate streamlining services that are shared between the County and the City and work with law Enforcement, Business, and Non Profit Partners in order to address the immediate safety crisis on our streets.
• HOUSING with SERVICES, FIRST:We cannot treat mental health issues or addiction if we send someone back out to live on cold, wet streets. And, this is personal for me as I lost a brother on the streets with a triple diagnosis. Housing must include services and we can do this with the integration and alignment of public and private partners.
• PARTNERSHIP: As Commissioner I will increase investments with our community partners who are both trauma informed in their approach and are more nimble in their service delivery. Allowing nonprofits who have the expertise and are overseen by Boards from the Business to help redefine the details of contracts and not let bureaucrats who are programmed to check a box of compliance determine investment.
• ACCOUNTABILITY: We must lower the costs of new units so we can build more and house more people. As we weather this economic downturn, even more people will be on the streets and we must use existing funding wisely and creatively.
• INNOVATION: As City Commissioner I will bring about innovative practices not accept the business as usual, bring in partners, not get in the way of innovation. I will look at how other cities are bringing together nonprofits, communities of faith, business and government to solve the issue of homelessness and innovate in our City.
I am interested in learning from you. Please reach out and send me your ideas on how we can improve and bring our city together.