Our homelessness crisis is a failure of our current political leaders. The problem is so much 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. These factors 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. This shouldn't be our Portland Story…
We need a community driven solution, and government must welcome new partners to the table and adapt to new ways of addressing this crisis. Complex local problems take complex local solutions. Public and private partnerships will be essential in solving this problem, as our local government alone has proven it can not win in their silo. We need results!
• HOUSING with SERVICES, FIRST: This issue is deeply personal for me. I lost my brother Time on the streets of Portland. Providing stable housing is absolutely essential to providing treatment to those experiencing mental health crises or battling addiction. Housing must include services and we can do this with the integration and alignment of public and private partners.
• EQUITY: When you look at the data broken down by race, the disparities are startling. We have to accelerate progress for those who have received targeted neglect and Implement culturally differentiated strategies, as one size does not fit all.
• SAFETY: First and foremost, our current structure of addressing issues of mental health, addiction services, criminal justice are not effective because the services currently provided by the County and City are severely siloed, which prevents streamlined and 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.
• 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. I will use my extensive experience in fostering public/private partnerships to build effective programs that produce concrete results. Accountability of government officials and oversight of private business is essential to this.
• INNOVATION: As City Commissioner I will bring innovation to city hall and not accept business as usual. 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.