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July 11, 2020

Dear community members,

Almost two months ago, voters across Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties overwhelmingly approved the largest per capita investment in supportive housing and homeless services the United States has ever seen.

The key to that victory was voters understanding something that partners in A Home for Everyone have known for a long time: housing plus services ends people’s homelessness. It’s just that we’ve never had enough funding to meet the sheer scale of need in our community.

Housing construction measures approved by voters in Portland and across the Metro region in 2016 and 2018 began to help change that.

And now Measure 26-210, championed by the HereTogether Oregon coalition, will do even more — funding the full suite of services people need to reach housing and stay in housing.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic will make precise revenue projections difficult to determine (the measure was originally projected to raise an estimated $250 million a year for the region), we do know that each county will finally be able to rely on a significant ongoing source of revenue dedicated for services that address chronic homelessness, as well as placement, prevention, and support services for the non-chronic population.

It will be months before those funds are available — under the measure, taxes to pay for services won’t even start being collected until April of next year.  And it is projected to be a couple of years before the full amount of the annual revenues will be collected and available for spending on services.

Still, the work to get ready for those funds is under way right now. Click here to learn more about the measure and to see the approximate timeline for the regional and local planning that’s expected to take place over the coming year. 

This process is already underway. The Metro Regional Government, which referred the measure to the ballot, is convening a temporary Stakeholder Advisory Group to help define the guiding values and metrics that the counties will be expected to use when developing their Local Implementation Plans.

While the Stakeholder Advisory Group works this summer, each county will be preparing to launch a Local Implementation Plan planning process this September.

In Multnomah County, the Joint Office of Homeless Services will rely on guidance contained in the voter-approved measure as we collect the data and other background materials we will need, and as we create a plan for the community engagement work that’s part of developing our Local Implementation Plan. 

Multnomah County, which will get the largest share of the money raised by Measure 26-210, has fortunately gotten a head start on this work. Years ago, we created A Home for Everyone to align our priorities, spending and strategies on homelessness and housing. And that strong stakeholder body will be central to the local planning work. 

But we also recognize that there are more voices who must weigh in on the services that people need to end their homelessness. To that end, the Joint Office will work with partners to shape an engagement process that’s open to an even broader representation of voices, and places a particular emphasis on engaging people with lived experience of homelessness and from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. 

We understand there’s already intense interest among providers looking to make a difference once funding from the measure becomes available next year.

But no decisions about allocation of future funding can be made until Multnomah County has a Metro-approved Local Implementation Plan that guides investment priorities. 

Therefore, the best way to include your ideas for how best to serve the priority populations identified in Measure 26-210 is to participate in the Local Implementation Plan development process that will begin in September.

By joining that process, you can contribute to the ground-setting work that will help determine which programs and priorities, which projects and proposals, will best leverage our new resources and most effectively deliver on the promise of reducing chronic homelessness and racial disparities in our community.

If you would like to learn more about opportunities to participate and receive updates about the work, please provide your contact information in the form provided below so we can keep in touch. Please also share any additional thoughts you’d like on the work to come and the engagement process. Thank you.

Marc Jolin

Please tell us who you are, so we can contact you about engagement opportunities with Multnomah County's local plan for Metro's Supportive Housing Measure.
Tell us where you think we should be engaging, and what kinds of programs and services this funding for supportive housing should prioritize.
Director, A Home for Everyone Joint Office of Homeless Services

A Home for Everyone
Joint Office of Homeless Services