Stuart at a homeless camp in the Central Eastside
LISTENING TO THE COMMUNITY
JOBS / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
DENSITY & DEMOLITIONS
ARTS + CULTURE
QUALITY OF LIFE
for more detail on an issue, please click on the issue above.
We have well over 4000 people unsheltered on our streets.
100% of homeless women are reported to be sexually abused
43 homeless people died on our streets in 2015
80% of homeless people have PTSD
Thank you to the many wonderful, passionate people who have helped me develop these ideas. Thank you to the many people who are currently homeless for your cheering me on and giving me ideas too. Thank you to the many Portlanders who have done so much to help our homeless and help solve our homeless problem.
Walking out my office on SW 12th one day in 2009, I saw this, during the depth of the Great Recession. I became even more determined to find housing solutions for our homeless in Portland after seeing this.
I have worked on housing and shelters for homeless throughout my career. This unique expertise is what is needed on City Council now.
At the rate current politicians are going, we will never get to a long term solution for homelessness.
From the first day I take office, I will work hard to significantly reduce homelessness in Portland collaboratively with other commissioners and community members with a focus on a holistic solution. I am enraged about our homeless problem, it is awful for our city and inhumane.
It is 2016. We live in a civilized society. Talking about tarp and sleeping bag rules for our sidewalks is nuts. Our homeless need to be off our streets and ultimately into safe, warm, dry housing with dignity and with services and jobs.
1. Every homeless person in safe, warm, dry housing or safe shelters in 14 weeks.
2. Coordinate all non-profits, communities of faith, governments to maximize effectiveness of services, housing delivery and housing management for homeless.
PROCESS (14 weeks):
1. Reconstitute homeless committee (A Home for Everyone) to be 20 people maximum, and at least 1/3 private sector and creative thinkers. (week 1)
2a. Every homeless person identified and assessed for needs. Compassionately and constructively. (weeks 2 - 3)
2b. Inventory Private and Public buildings and properties for temporary shelter and permanent housing. (weeks 2 - 3)
2c. Analyze best practices in other cities (weeks 2 - 3)
2d. Determine private and public funding sources (weeks 2 - 3)
2e. Greatly reduce the pipelines into homelessness (weeks 2 - 3)
3a. Select, establish budget (private and public funds) and negotiate private and public buildings and properties for temporary shelter and permanent housing. (weeks 4 - 6)
3b. Determine services (weeks 4 - 6)
4. Prepare shelters/housing (weeks 7 - 13)
5. Move in to temporary or permanent accomodations. (week 14)
6a. Begin 4 year plan to move all chronically homeless into permanent supportive housing. (week 15+)
6b. Begin 4 year plan to address housing, employment, and addiction challenges for able bodied homeless adults, youth and families.
17 ACTION ITEMS:
1. Set new priorities on City Council, and put homelessness #1 immediately.
2. New blood to solve the problem: Immediately bring in private sector decision makers, creative thinkers, solutions-oriented people to determine solutions with selected existing homelessness leaders from government and non-profits. 'A Home for Everyone' group should be reconstituted to include 50% private sector thinkers, minimize size (15 preferred, 20 max) and maximize immediate action and long term strategy.
3. Best practices. Research how other US and international cities that have succeeded in reducing homelessness. Buffalo, Salt Lake City, etc.
4. Collaborate & listen well, but always focus on building consensus and producing solutions. For my page on listening to the community, please click here.
5. 14 Week Temporary Plan, 4 Year Permanent Plan, incorporating best practices, to maximize the reduction in homelessness with set goals and budgets that are realistic and achievable, with constant monitoring. Tailor solutions for all types of people who are homeless, including couples, families, youth, and people with dogs. 4 year plan determined in 2 months maximum (people living on our streets can't wait).
6. Sites. The City of Portland needs to inventory all of its underutilized properties, as well as other government owned properties for potential sites for new housing for the homeless immediately. Sites don't need to be downtown - but they need to be near transit. Sites should work for traditional multi-story SRO, tiny house villages, and other potential innovative solutions.
7. Inventory existing buildings and develop a plan to keep people who are already housed in their existing housing. Also see if existing buildings can provide more housing or temporary shelters.
a. Buildings that are currently housing very low or no income people to be stabilized as much as possible.
b. Buildings and houses that can be adapted for housing for homeless to be identified.
c. Temporary solutions, like Wapato jail should be considered, if there is a plan for next steps.
8. Shelters are temporary but needed. We need to have empty beds always so everyone on the street can have a place to stay overnight. People should feel safe in shelters.
9. Innovation. Effectively look into innovation to reduce housing unit cost and reduce delivery time of units. This would include modular/pre fab, tiny houses, huts, RV/trailers, solutions that have not been considered. Collaborate with foundations, non-profits, and private businesses to get good ideas and prototypes built. Some units should be considered w/o full bathrooms and kitchens, and shared facilities, to reduce unit cost.
10. Reduce Sources of homelessness.
b. Reduce foreclosures by working collaboratively with banks and mortgage companies.
c. Work with other US western cities to have each city address their homeless, instead of bussing them to another city.
d. Work effectively to avoid further loss of SRO rooms like the Joyce Hotel.
e. Work with service agencies, non-profits, and faith communities to reduce youth runaways, especially LGBTQ youth.
f. Work with service agencies, non-profits, and faith communities to address kids aging out of foster care so they have a pathway to a life of hope, happiness and potential.
g. Work with Veteran groups and agencies to keep Vets from becoming homeless.
11. Public funds maximized. Set ambitious goals and achieve them. More quantity, more speed, less red-tape.
(Let's get much better solutions: the Portland Housing Bureau letting out $61,000,000 in housing money in October 2015 and resulting in housing for maybe 2 - 4% [a percentage of the 135 units - 0-30 MFI - out of a total of 700 units] of the 1800 homeless on our streets is nowhere near good enough to solve the problem).
12. Alternate funding sources. Besides public funds, once we establish the 4 year plan that is seen to be well thought out and with excellent support from private sector, we need to look into other private, foundation and faith community support. Let's get some private dollars being part of the solution. Imagine the 12 - 50 unit 'Jane and John Philanthopist House' for the previously homeless'.
13. Services. Work with the County, State, non-profits, faith communities to get improved services for homeless individuals, including drug/alcohol, and mental health. But, let's do Housing First.
14. Great, compassionate housing management and financing for management of housing for homeless is key.
15. Bridge the Gap with local or state 'Section 8'-esque vouchers. Many homeless get about $775 per month, and 30% (an established ideal maximum % of income dedicated to housing) of that is $235. Let's find ways to supplement this amount to bridge the gap and get homeless people into safe, warm, dry housing with dignity. Please click here for Susan Emmons and Bobby Weinstock's great article discussing vouchers. This is less costly for Portland than having people living on the street.
16. Job training. A lot of homeless are able to work and are willing. More jobs should be provided for our homeless from the public and private sectors. More job-training should be implemented.
17. Exportable housing for the homeless. Let's design a fantastic housing solution for homeless, have it built by homeless and others for family-wage jobs, help house our homeless, patent it, and then export it to other states.
The suffering of the individuals living on the streets goes beyond numbers. Every man, woman or child who is sleeping in their car, camping in a park, or huddled in a doorway overnight is more than a statistic. Their suffering is real, and the solutions will need to be as individualized as the reasons that brought them to that place.
Modular homeless units
Portland Tribune, Dec. 2013
'Help homeless now'
Portland Tribune, March 2016
I have worked on homeless issues since 1990, from housing, to shelters, to innovative solutions that focus on effectively addressing the challenge. I designed the national award winning Simone Hotel for homeless, numerous other shelters and homeless housing projects. My Kah San Chako Haws project for NAYA featured a studio unit that was designed for homeless singles and couples. I was the designer for ImHomeToo, innovative modular units for homeless that are designed to lower unit cost and increase the quantity of homeless housing. I am a consensus builder who has produced solutions that get built.
Why I am the right candidate to address homelessness:
1. My expertise in homelessness
2. I listen, I collaborate
3. My real world problem solving skills
4. My passion to make significant progress
Please click on images for further information on some of the projects I designed for people who were homeless.
Ocean Park Community Center
Kah San Chako Haws