Planned Alternative Shelter in St. Johns: FAQs and Community Letters


READ: Oct. 12, 2018, letter delivered to next-door neighbors at n. roberts

READ: Oct. 29, 2018, letter from JOHS director Marc Jolin to neighbors

READ: NOV. 1, 2018, LETTER FROM ROSE CITY NEIGHBORHOOD PRESCHOOL, WHICH SHARES A BUILDING WITH DO GOOD MULTNOMAH’S VETERANS SHELTER

READ: dec. 3, 2018, answers to questions from st. johns neighborhood association and other neighbors after back-to-back november community meetings with immediate neighbors and overall community

What is the plan for a village-style alternative shelter in St. Johns? 

The City of Portland and Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services is working with Do Good Multnomah, a shelter and housing services provider, to partner with residents of Hazelnut Grove, an established, self-organized community of people experiencing homelessness, around the establishment of a transitional shelter village in St. Johns for roughly 20 people.

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE PDF OF THIS FAQ

Hazelnut Grove residents would be among the first group in the new village, with people experiencing homelessness in St. Johns offered priority access to fill remaining spots and then fill spots as they open when residents move forward to permanent housing.

Like the long-term location of the Joint Office-supported Kenton Women’s Village, due to be fully built out this year, a St. Johns village would not resemble an unsanctioned campsite. It would have sleeping pods, plumbing, electricity, nonprofit support around housing outcomes, and security features.

In October, the Joint Office identified a site on North Roberts Avenue, near North Lombard Street, as one option for providing a legal, permitted alternative shelter, after reviewing more than 400 city-owned properties. The Joint Office and partners in the work attended two community meetings in the fall to talk about the Roberts site. A “village fair” to further explore the project was convened at Wayfinding Academy in St. Johns in January 2019. A site survey was undertaken after that.

Then, this spring, while the review of the Roberts site was under way, congregants at the St. Johns Christian Church voted to offer land at 8005 N. Richmond Ave., via lease, as an alternative to the Roberts site. The Richmond site is larger and appears to pose fewer design challenges (neighbors have constructed encroaching driveways through the city-owned land, for example). And it is much closer to community amenities such as additional bus lines, the Library, grocery stores, food assistance locations, and the County’s North Portland Health Clinic.

The Joint Office shared an update about the church vote with neighbors and neighborhood groups the next day, on April 8. St. Johns Christian Church is hosting an open house mixer with community members on April 23.

What is Hazelnut Grove?

Hazelnut Grove is a village-style alternative shelter community that’s been operating on city-owned land in the Overlook neighborhood — but without infrastructure like water, sewer and electricity, or a service provider partner— since 2015.

It serves roughly 15 single adults and people in couples. Hazelnut Grove has a board of advisers, including neighbors and community members who live outside the Grove. It is governed through general assembly meetings; those meetings are open to neighbors to attend.

Residents at Hazelnut Grove have been involved in community work in the Overlook neighborhood, including serving on the Overlook Neighborhood Association’s board. Hazelnut Grove also has built enduring and supportive relationships with nearby neighbors in Overlook that would continue even after a move. Members also volunteer in the neighborhood and for the Oregon Food Bank.

Hazelnut Grove’s current site operates with donations, with some facilities and logistical support — such as trash pickup — provided by the City of Portland. Like the city’s three other alternative shelters, Hazelnut Grove’s current site is on city land. But it has been operating without partnership from a service provider and formal city approval. 

An alternative shelter is not a camp or a campsite. It is simply a shelter that is not facility-based, i.e. not in a single building. Alternative shelters, structured as pod villages, have tiny homes or “pods” where guests stay. They share communal buildings that house shared services and amenities such as cooking and meeting spaces, social services office and storage.

Who would stay at the village and for how long?

The village would serve couples and single adults 18 and older.

Pets would be allowed. Guests would be able to have a bed as long as they need, with the expectation that they are engaging with Do Good Multnomah and working toward permanent housing. We expect the village to accommodate about 20 adults.

Participants will stay at the site subject to participation agreements that set expectations for how they treat each other and how they conduct themselves in the surrounding area. Anyone unwilling or unable to abide by these agreements will not be able to stay at the site. Drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs will be not be permitted at the village.

What would a village in St. Johns mean for people in need locally?

A village in St. Johns would mean significant facilities improvements for residents at Hazelnut Grove while creating opportunities for folks in St. Johns to receive shelter and services while learning from the model of community support the Grove has built. Partnership with an established provider would also mean residents would receive transitional services to move forward to permanent housing.

Do Good Multnomah, besides operating a long-time Veterans shelter in Northeast Portland, has experience working with a village. It is working with Clackamas County to operate a village-style alternative shelter for Veterans. Do Good also has experience offering transition services, rapid rehousing assistance and developing permanent housing. 

You can learn more about Do Good Multnomah at dogoodmultnomah.org/.

The closest site-design comparison is the Kenton Women’s Village, which you can learn more about at www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org/provide-shelter/kenton-womens-village/.

What’s the timeline?

No matter the site, it will be months before a village opens in St. Johns. A firm date has not yet been established. Construction/installation and ongoing services and facilities would be funded by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, which also funds those services at the Kenton Women’s Village. The village would also be subject to applicable city inspection standards.

What would happen to Hazelnut Grove’s current site in Overlook?

The City of Portland will work with Overlook Neighborhood Association to decide the future of that site. At first, a fence would stay up around the site. The idea of a community garden has been floated. The City of Portland’s Office of Management and Finance would likely coordinate any restoration work needed. 

How will a village fit within the services already offered by partners in A Home for Everyone, our community’s strategy for addressing homelessness?

After leading a dramatic expansion that doubled year-round shelter capacity in our community, partners in A Home for Everyone, including the City of Portland and Multnomah County, are now working to transform those temporary, emergency spaces into enduring, purpose-designed shelter opportunities that serve our ultimate goal of helping neighbors keep or return to housing.

Although this kind of alternative shelter will be set up on open space, with common areas and movable pods, expectations are no different than for any other traditional shelter.

Hazelnut Grove or any provider must provide safe and supportive environments for their guests and help them transition to permanent housing. They also must be good neighbors to those nearby.

Alternative shelter provides a sense of community, and it’s another option for people who do not want, or struggle to succeed in, facility-based shelter and don’t have access to permanent housing options. It also empowers participants by giving them a voice in how their sites are governed, and allows participants to engage with community members.

It’s not meant as a replacement for programs like rent assistance, housing case management or facility-based shelter, all of which successfully help thousands of neighbors in our community every year.

How can neighbors in St. Johns contribute to a successful village?

Village residents would be expected to contribute to their new neighborhood like any other new arrival might — including volunteering and hosting community events, co-gardening space and offering to work with volunteers.  Neighbors such as those working with the St. Johns Center for Opportunity are already stepping up to help connect villagers to those opportunities.

The Kenton Women’s Village, as an example, has successfully integrated itself into the Kenton neighborhood and beyond, winning honors during the most recent St. Johns Parade for a float built by residents.

Next-door neighbors at one of our facility-based shelters, the Wy’east Shelter on SE 122nd Avenue, recently raised money and organized a welcoming party for shelter residents.

Do Good Multnomah, which operates a men’s Veterans shelter in Northeast Portland, also has a track record of working with other tenants in the church complex it occupies, including a preschool. On Valentine’s Day, students at the school presented the Veterans with heart-shaped pizzas.

How would Do Good Multnomah address safety concerns?

Like any good neighbor, and like any other social services provider, a village must be responsible for safe and effective property management that ensures safety for the guests of the village and the village’s neighbors

A few examples that build from our experience from other sanctioned villages, such as the Kenton Women’s Village, Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too:

●     The village will have a fence and gate, with an office at the gate.

●     Village management will provide a liaison to the neighborhood association and a 24/7 phone number — and will facilitate meetings with neighbors as needed.

●     General assembly meetings will be open to the public.

●     Most importantly, the village will engage the surrounding neighbors in community activities. Meeting each other and knowing one another individually helps everyone feel comfortable, safe and a part of the neighborhood.

With respect to concerns about people with certain criminal histories receiving services at sites near residential communities, we should be clear: If an individual’s criminal history precludes them from being within a certain distance of a school, they wouldn’t be allowed to live at this shelter. Just as they wouldn’t be allowed to live in a nearby apartment, house or tent. Do Good Multnomah will also screen out predatory sex offenders directly.

Parole and probation officers, as they do throughout our community, enforce supervision terms that set those boundaries. And they will arrest those who violate them, again, whether they live in homes of their own or are sleeping in unsanctioned campsites.

As we have in other neighborhoods, we are committed to ensuring that the program succeeds, for its residents but also for the community. And in the unlikely event that problems arise that cannot be timely addressed, we will revisit the operator, the program model, and even the continued use of the site for this kind of village community. 

Do Good Multnomah would also work to ensure there is no unsanctioned camping around the village location.

For further information: please reach out to April Rohman, senior program specialist for adult shelter at the Joint Office of Homeless Services, at April.Rohman@multco.us.

Severe weather shelters open for first time this season on Sunday night, Feb. 3

The arrival of the season’s first severe cold snap — bringing frigid temperatures and wind chills, and threats of accumulating snow — means that severe weather shelters will open throughout Multnomah County on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Severe weather shelters do not require identification or any other documentation. No one seeking shelter during severe weather will be turned away.

Service providers and the Joint Office of Homeless Services are also calling for community donations of life-saving winter gear. Because this season has been so mild, service providers say they haven’t been receiving their usual amount of donated supplies, which help outreach workers keep people warm and dry night after night.

Items especially important to donate items including waterproof hats, gloves, blankets, tarps and coats. More information on what to donate, and where to take it, is at 211info.org/donations.

Transition Projects will open severe weather shelters tonight at Bud Clark Commons (655 NW Hoyt, in Portland), Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny, in Portland) and Sunrise Center (18901 E Burnside, in Gresham). Bud Clark Commons and Imago Dei will be open to adults, couples and families and their pets from 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, to 7:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4. Sunrise Center will be open from 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, to 7:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4.

2019 Point in Time Count starts Wednesday, Jan. 23, with unprecedented coordination among outreach workers, volunteers

2019 Point in Time Count starts Wednesday, Jan. 23, with unprecedented coordination among outreach workers, volunteers

Starting the night of Wednesday, Jan. 23, hundreds of outreach workers, service providers and volunteers coordinated by Portland State University and the Joint Office of Homeless Services will undertake Multnomah County’s most ambitious Point in Time Count of homelessness yet.

Every day and night through Tuesday, Jan. 29, they’ll be working to reach as many neighbors experiencing homelessness as possible, asking them where they slept the night of Jan. 23: In a shelter? Transitional housing? Or somewhere without any shelter at all?

Surveyors will also collect vital demographic data meant to tell us more about who is experiencing homelessness — for example, their age, race and ethnicity, length of homelessness, whether they are disabled, and whether they are veterans or have experienced domestic violence.

“The count doesn’t provide every answer: It doesn’t tell us why someone became homeless or what it will take to help any particular person end their homelessness,” said Marc Jolin, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, which is funded by the City of Portland and Multnomah County. “But it’s a critical tool for helping us understand the current level and nature of the need in our community. It’s vital data that helps guide our community’s investments in ending homelessness.”

2019 Point in Time Count: FAQ

When is the Point in Time Count?

The most recent Count took place in February 2017. This year’s Count is set to start Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, and will last through Jan. 29. During that time period, volunteers and outreach workers will ask people experiencing homelessness where they slept on the night on Jan. 23, which serves as the designated “point in time” referenced in the Count.

Federal officials require a basic count of people in shelters and on the streets at least every two years and they determine the date of the Count. Our region has kept to the every other year schedule since holding its first Count in 2005. This year’s Count will be our region’s eighth.

After victories for housing measures in local elections, Multnomah County and Portland's supportive housing plan is even more important

In light of Tuesday’s election results, with widespread majorities in Oregon and the Metro area supporting affordable housing measures, we’re reposting this report and release from January on supportive housing.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Contact: Denis Theriault, denis.theriault@multco.us

Supportive Housing Plan Complete! City Council and Board of County Commissioners to Hear Report Tuesday.

At a joint work session Tuesday, September 11, commissioners from Portland and Multnomah County will hear a briefing from our colleagues at Corporation of Supportive Housing (CSH), who have done excellent work to complete a full report outlining: community-wide need for supportive housing; estimated costs, potential funding sources and resource coordination that it will take to meet that need; and key next-steps to continue implementation. The work session is scheduled from 2 - 3:30 PM, at City Council chambers and will be live-streamed if you'd like to watch.

Overall, the necessary investment to achieve the supportive housing goal is estimated at $592 million to $640 million over 10 years. Operating costs after those 10 years are estimated at $43 million to $47 million a year. The report from CSH includes a plan to align those costs across all levels of government and alongside the private development, philanthropic and health care sectors.  

The report also makes clear that significant progress toward the 2,000-unit goal is already under way. Since last fall, 517 new units of supportive housing have already opened or are in development.

Those units mark important early proof that the strategies presented in CSH’s report can work to produce hundreds more housing units across the community.

Supportive housing — which combines deep affordability with intensive care, including mental health and addiction services — is essential for helping neighbors with the most barriers not only obtain homes but also keep them.

And the number of people who face those barriers is growing. People with significant disabilities and long periods of homelessness are the fastest growing population on our streets

Supportive housing is often the most effective way to serve a significant share of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. It’s a proven way to end the painful and expensive cycles that send some neighbors from hospital beds to jail beds to shelter beds to sidewalks and back again. Ending those cycles by providing supportive housing, in turn, saves lives, while also saving money spent on emergency health care, Medicaid and public safety, among other services.

The joint City/County work session will also include a brief update on community-level progress through our shared efforts under A Home for Everyone (AHFE). Nearly 6,000 people were helped from homelessness back into housing in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s a 21 percent increase from the number helped the year before, and a 99 percent increase, or essentially double, from what providers accomplished before A Home for Everyone launched in 2013-14.

More than 8,000 people spent at least one night in shelter, double the number served four years ago. In addition, more than 6,300 people received rent assistance for the first time so they could stay in housing, thousands more than just a few years before. That success demonstrates the strength of working closely across jurisdictions and around a common strategy.


Joint Office of Homeless Services Statement on 2017 Domicile Unknown Report

DomicileUnknown_2017_COVER-PAGEforweb.jpg

The Multnomah County Health Department, in partnership with Street Roots, released the 7th annual Domicile Unknown report on Tuesday. The report counted at least 79 deaths in 2017 that involved someone experiencing homelessness.

The county began tracking deaths on the street starting in 2011, to help shape public policy discussions in our community on homelessness. Among the policies that emerged was the creation, with the City of Portland, of the A Home for Everyone initiative in 2014 and then the Joint Office of Homeless Services in 2017.

Marc Jolin, director of the initiative and the Joint Office, shared the following statement:

“Year after year, Domicile Unknown mourns dozens of lives stolen too soon by homelessness — showing us the deadly cost of a housing market that pushes thousands of people onto our streets, day after day, sometimes without ever offering a way back.

 “The lesson should be clear: It’s not enough to catch people after they’ve fallen into crisis. We have to stop our loved ones, friends and neighbors from ever falling into crisis in the first place.

“The Joint Office and providers in our community are leading that effort locally, pushing for thousands more units of supportive housing and building on the City and County’s unprecedented investments in rent assistance.

“But we won’t end this cycle of loss until we acknowledge — across all levels of government, and all sectors of our community — that every single one of us deserves a decent and affordable place to live and access to quality, life-saving health care.”

Supportive Housing Plan Complete! City Council and Board of County Commissioners to Hear Report Tuesday.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Contact: Denis Theriault, denis.theriault@multco.us

Supportive Housing Plan Complete! City Council and Board of County Commissioners to Hear Report Tuesday.

At a joint work session Tuesday, September 11, commissioners from Portland and Multnomah County will hear a briefing from our colleagues at Corporation of Supportive Housing (CSH), who have done excellent work to complete a full report outlining: community-wide need for supportive housing; estimated costs, potential funding sources and resource coordination that it will take to meet that need; and key next-steps to continue implementation. The work session is scheduled from 2 - 3:30 PM, at City Council chambers and will be live-streamed if you'd like to watch.

Overall, the necessary investment to achieve the supportive housing goal is estimated at $592 million to $640 million over 10 years. Operating costs after those 10 years are estimated at $43 million to $47 million a year. The report from CSH includes a plan to align those costs across all levels of government and alongside the private development, philanthropic and health care sectors.  

The report also makes clear that significant progress toward the 2,000-unit goal is already under way. Since last fall, 517 new units of supportive housing have already opened or are in development.

Those units mark important early proof that the strategies presented in CSH’s report can work to produce hundreds more housing units across the community.

Supportive housing — which combines deep affordability with intensive care, including mental health and addiction services — is essential for helping neighbors with the most barriers not only obtain homes but also keep them.

And the number of people who face those barriers is growing. People with significant disabilities and long periods of homelessness are the fastest growing population on our streets

Supportive housing is often the most effective way to serve a significant share of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. It’s a proven way to end the painful and expensive cycles that send some neighbors from hospital beds to jail beds to shelter beds to sidewalks and back again. Ending those cycles by providing supportive housing, in turn, saves lives, while also saving money spent on emergency health care, Medicaid and public safety, among other services.

The joint City/County work session will also include a brief update on community-level progress through our shared efforts under A Home for Everyone (AHFE). Nearly 6,000 people were helped from homelessness back into housing in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s a 21 percent increase from the number helped the year before, and a 99 percent increase, or essentially double, from what providers accomplished before A Home for Everyone launched in 2013-14.

More than 8,000 people spent at least one night in shelter, double the number served four years ago. In addition, more than 6,300 people received rent assistance for the first time so they could stay in housing, thousands more than just a few years before. That success demonstrates the strength of working closely across jurisdictions and around a common strategy.


A Home For Everyone Coordinating Board Seeking Member Applications

The A Home for Everyone Coordinating Board is collecting applications for Coordinating Board membership, particularly from individuals who have the background or expertise in:

  • East County/Gresham services

  • Businesses and/or workforce development organizations

  • Affordable housing developers

  • Law enforcement and/or criminal justice/reentry

  • Faith-based organizations

  • Culturally-specific service providers 

The Coordinating Board of A Home for Everyone was chartered by Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, and Home Forward. Its members are appointed for two year terms by the Executive Committee of the Board to oversee and advise the Executive Committee on the ongoing implementation of the community-wide strategic plan to end homelessness. Members are selected to represent the diverse constituencies with interest and expertise in ending homelessness.

The Coordinating Board is directly responsible for the allocation of federal homeless assistance dollars that are annually allocated to our continuum of care. The Coordinating Board also advises on local policy and the investment of local funds directed toward homeless services.

Please visit ahomeforeveryone.net for more information about A Home For Everyone, the Board, Executive Committee and the Charter

If you are interested in applying, please click here to fill out the Interest Form. Once completed, please send the Interest Form to A Home For Everyone, at ahfe@multco.us. The deadline to apply is end-of-business on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

If you have further questions, please contact A Home For Everyone at ahfe@multco.us.

Adult Homeless Services Request for Programmatic Qualifications is Now Open!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release Date: August 17, 2018
Contact: Tessa Paul, tessa.paul@multco.us

Adult Homeless Services Request for Programmatic Qualifications is Now Open!

 August 17, 2018 | Portland, Or. – The City of Portland/Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services is seeking applications to qualify organizations to provide a range of services to adults unaccompanied by minor children who are experiencing or at imminent risk of homelessness in Multnomah County – listed as RFPQ-26-2019 (1). This RFPQ will be comprised of two stages: Stage I will qualify applicants on organizational qualifications, while Stage II will qualify organizations to provide specific components of Adult Homeless Services.

Stage I released today, August 17, at 8:00 AM. It will be open for approximately 30 days, with a submission deadline of Monday, September 17, 2018 at 4:00 PM. Those who qualify in Stage I will be invited to apply for Stage II upon its release in mid-October.

Multnomah County Procurement Services will be holding a Stage I informational meeting for interested applicants, also known as a Pre-Proposal Conference, on Friday, August 24, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. It will be held at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 1st Floor Boardroom, Portland, OR 97214. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.

To apply, applicants must be registered on MultCo Marketplace. For more information and to access this RFPQ, visit Multnomah County’s Supplier Portal.

Multnomah County, City of Portland, State of Oregon team up for first-of-its-kind supportive housing project

A first-of-its-kind funding partnership between the State of Oregon, Multnomah County and the City of Portland, announced Friday, July 27, will foster new models of supportive housing and build on the community’s ongoing response to chronic homelessness.

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), together with the Joint Office of Homeless Services, Multnomah County Mental Health & Addiction Services, and Oregon Housing and Community Services, are offering $12 million for proposals that not only combine housing and mental health services but also keep costs down by embracing the efficiency of single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing.

People experiencing mental health disabilities are the fastest growing segment of the population experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County. PHB’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) calls on the development community and service providers for housing proposals that find cost efficiencies, demonstrate innovative designs, and integrate support services in projects focused on homeless individuals experiencing mental illness.

The funding opportunity marks the first time funding to build affordable housing has been bundled with funding for the services residents will need to thrive in that housing. It also marks a first-of-its-kind partnership with the state.