General Nov 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Portland's Got a New Plan to Slash Its Homelessness Crisis—But Is That Even Possible?


There's not enough acknowledgment in this piece of the primary culprits of long-term homelessness: mental illness and addiction. This is a much harder problem than the issue of the working poor who are (most often) temporarily homeless due to an eviction, not being able to afford rent, etc.
We need to find out why they are homeless. (not to blame them but to determine root causes) What reasons are there for homelessness and how many of each reason. Not every solution will work for every type of reason they are homeless.
Build it, and they will come!
"Thanks to increased spending, the city's social service providers were able to house more than 3,500 people, about 20 percent more than they'd helped the year before. Yet the ranks of homeless still rose...."

There will always be more. The "homeless" isn't some discreet block of the same people and as soon as you house them you're done. It is an ever changing group of people and when you house them others will take their place. Helping house 3,500 people in a year actually seems pretty darn good. But you'll note how it didn't help the overall numbers or visibility of our homeless problem.
If you take their shoes they can't get on a commercial flight.
There will always be homeless people. Some people don't mind it. There is a subculture of people who ride trains and live on the streets because they just enjoy that way of life.
"If you take their shoes they can't get on a commercial flight."

But they breeze through security.
The Portland Business Alliance most recent event introduced Lloyd Pendleton to a crowd nearing 400 Wednesday morning at the Sentinel hotel.

Pendleton, the former director of the Salt Lake City housing first plan to end homelessness, spoke of the successful housing-first model used to reduce Salt Lake City’s homeless population by 92%. Housing first models have been around for a while; the concept is quite simple actually.

What’s special about Pendleton is that he was able to get their plan implemented.

He ran the numbers and found that it cost $20,000 a year to keep a homeless person on the street. Such expenses include mental health services, crisis intervention, incarceration, and uninsured healthcare expenses. Realizing that “they” were already paying for their homeless to stay on the street, Pendleton said let’s use that money to get them off the street and back into society. In other words, let’s stop maintaining the status quo.

Pendleton found that they could home a homeless person for $10,000. So after six months the city realized a return of their investment. In Portland, it costs $25,000 a year to maintain the status quo. A recent point in time count report relieved that 1,887 people were unsheltered, 872 people were sleeping in an emergency shelter, and 1,042 people were sleeping in transitional housing. In all, 3,801 people met HUD’s definition of homelessness.
If we do the math (3,801 homeless at $25,000 a year), Portland is spending more than 95 million a year, Portland is already paying out for the homeless and Portland is paying too much to maintain the status quo.

Pendleton’s leadership was the true key to Salt Lake City’s success. With no professional background in politics, social work, homelessness reduction, or ten-year plan writing, Pendleton with his M.B.A. is at heart a business man. And as a business man he broke down barriers, he would not take no for an answer, he knew that homelessness was big business, and it had to stop. He knew that the silo-zation of services was not the best solution for his cities vulnerable. And more than anything Pendleton wanted to save life’s because he’s a simple advocate at heart, and proud of it I think.

Before the Pendleton event, I had heard a lot of great things about Ted Wheeler from the advocacy community, his grass roots style and empathetic approach. I was able to speak with him briefly before the start of the event and realized immediately what I had been hearing was understated.

Clearly Wheeler is an advocate ready and willing to do what is necessary to barrier break and put an end to the status quo. And not because it will further his interests, but rather because it’s the right thing to do, it’s in the best interest of everyone living in Portland with or without a roof over their head.

The homeless of Portland are drowning, and Ted Wheeler is their life jacket. I only hope they can keep their head above water for another 13 months.
Your numbers are highly suspect, as well as your belief that Wheeler will go along with this crap, at least to the extent you propose.
We will never 'solve' the homelessness problem, and the sooner people realize that, the better.
You obviously love watching the World burn. I feel sorry for you.
good point frankieb. who said homelessness needs to be "solved". You middle class creep me out- you think you own every square inch of the planet and anyone who does not conform to your way of life needs to be outlawed or enslaved by charity? You call that "HELP". many hobos want their freedom not your charity, but people focus on the select few asking for money (nothing against those who do) and apply it to the majority.
Following is the link to the event hosted by the PBA.

The solution in Utah was giving the chronically homeless homes
• In addition to providing housing, the state helps integrate the homeless into the community and provides health care and other services.
• Utah was able to implement the program using state funds to build new housing, by asking landlords to accept people with Section 8 vouchers and by converting old hotels into apartments.
• Program leaders worked with landlords and neighborhoods to address and mitigate concerns.
• Salt Lake City has reduced the money it used to spend treating chronically homeless on the street by reducing need for services like jail, police and emergency services.
• After five years, 88 percent of the formerly homeless were still in their homes.
While I applaud and support the emergency measures that are being undertaken to help people avoid - and leave - homelessness, the dialogues I see around this issue ignore the structural issues that are creating the lack of affordable housing that is a key piece of the problem. The dialogue also ignores the fact that while homelessness is the most visible "problem" created by the lack of affordable housing, a much larger group of people are under severe and growing financial (and other) stress due to rapidly rising housing costs. The key tools we need to resolve these problems are currently prohibited by state statutes, thanks to the Homebuiders Association and others in the real estate and investment worlds. Without tools that directly address land/housing speculation -- tools like inclusionary zoning, value-capture (speculation) taxes, and rent control -- we cannot solve this problem. Many other communities use these tools, and all of the dire predictions about lack of investment in housing, recessions, etc. have not come to pass there. The City and County need to step up, yes, but part of that stepping up needs to be demanding that Salem give them back the critical tools they need to solve this problem at the structural level; otherwise they can throw $30 million a year at this forever and the problem will get worse.
i know how to house 57% of our homeless make social Security disability income a livable income. (HUD statistics off their website) in 2013 there was around 4,000 homeless with 40% disabled and now in 2015 about 4,000 homeless with 57% disabled. I'm disabled on social security disability and get $753 a month to live on witch is about half the amount of money a person needs to live on witch is why 57% of our homeless here in Portland is homeless. Once agin it's nice to see these very important and eye-opening statistics not being mentioned in another article about our homeless problem. Our true problem is social Security disability payments need to be twice as much as they are so we the disabled can have homes.
I read this article and couldn't help think of my own family. We ate going through a real rough time. I work full time, my wife works part time and rent is insane. One thing the article pointed out to was the raise in rent but the income design not match as much. My wife and I have often though of working several jobs just to make ends meet. On top if it, the state can't seem to help us cuz we make too much. In my opinion, the state government doesn't help families as much as they should. What causes a person to go homeless? Just as one reader suggested, what is the root cause. I work in the pearl district and I take a bus to work. I notice all the homeless down Burnside and can't help to wonder if at one time, those people were in my shoes and just didn't get the help. Drugs, addiction, etc, doesn't matter. Comes down to support.
I'm pretty sure that cutting homeless in half would be cruel and unusual punishment. Is this a Trump idea?

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