Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County on Tuesday, Aug. 1

With temperatures expected to climb into triple digits this week and remain high for several days, Multnomah County will open three cooling centers to help seniors and people with disabilities and other health conditions stay safe.

HOW TO FIND A COOLING CENTER NEAR YOU:

Cooling centers will open Tuesday, Aug. 1 and remain open through at least Monday, Aug. 7 at the locations listed below. The centers may remain open beyond this date if the temperature remains above 90 degrees. All cooling centers will be open from 5 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and 2 pm to 8 pm on weekends.

  • Multnomah County Walnut Park Building, 5325 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland
  • Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St., Gresham
  • Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave., Portland

Pets and children are welcome at all three cooling center locations. Each location also will have activities including board games and movies. Snacks and water also are available.

Additional Cooling Center open to all at the American Legion Post 134, 2104 NE Alberta St., Portland, Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 am to 7 pm and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Transportation to cooling centers can be arranged by calling Ride Connection at 503-226-0700. Advance reservations are encouraged. All rides are free of charge.

Community members are encouraged to check on elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives and also to sign up to receive email alerts about future cooling center openings.

 Click to View Printable Flyer

Click to View Printable Flyer


TIPS FOR STAYING COOL:

  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. People with health conditions such as epilepsy, heart or kidney disease should talk to a doctor before increasing their consumption.
  • Find the cool places. Visit a family member or neighbor with air conditioning, or go to the nearest public library, shopping mall or other cooled space.
  • Dress for the weather. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Never wait in a parked vehicle or leave a child, elder or pet waiting in a parked car. Temperatures inside parked vehicles can rise dangerously high -- even with the windows open.
  • Slow down. Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities until the heat of the day has passed.
  • Stay out of the sun. Sunburn interferes with the skin’s ability to cool.
  • Take a cool bath, shower or sponge bath. Cool water can help cool an overheated body.
  • Pay attention to older adults, people with disabilities or health conditions.
  • Check on those who are at-risk at least twice a day.

For additional tips, visit www.multco.us/help-when-its-hot

The Multnomah County Aging, Disability and Veterans Services Helpline has resources for older adults and people with disabilities, including a list of senior centers, transportation services and 24-hour crisis intervention.

For more information, call 503-988-3646 or TTY at 503-988-3683.

For heat advisory information in different languages, please visit https://multco.us/help-when-its-hot/tips-print-and-post

Housing advocates rally against threatened federal cuts: "Housing is a human right"

Housing advocates rally against threatened federal cuts: "Housing is a human right"

Housing advocates, clients and elected leaders gathered by the dozens in North Portland on Friday, July 28 with a plea for White House officials considering billions of dollars in cuts to housing, homelessness and anti-poverty services.

Don’t cut funding that pays for thousands of apartments and rental vouchers. Don’t even hold the line. Follow our lead, and help us save lives, by investing even more.

“Public housing saved my life,” said Annie Calhoun, a cancer and stroke survivor who relied on housing through Home Forward to weather treatment and seven operations in the past year.

“I’m a tough cookie,” she continued. “But if I didn’t have a stable home that I could rely on, I’m not sure I’d be here to talk to you lovely folks. We don’t have enough affordable housing. I’m here to tell the federal government we need more.”

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at a housing rally, Friday, July 28, 2017, while Commissioner Loretta Smith, Mayor Ted Wheeler and others look on.

The rally at McCoy Park, in the heart of New Columbia, was one of a series of events nationwide for National Housing Week of Action(link is external), led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Providers and advocates are reacting to what they say are troubling budget discussions in Washington, D.C., around housing: Under the White House’s proposed national spending plan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would see a $6.8 billion cut.

For Oregon, that comes to $80 million less for Oregon every year, with more than $20 million in cuts possible just for Multnomah County, according to data from Home Forward(link is external), the region’s local housing authority. Proposed White House cuts would zero out local funding for programs including Meals on Wheels, employment training and housing rehabilitation. Local funding that helps maintain buildings with public housing would be cut by nearly 70 percent.

MEDIA ADVISORY: “Our Homes, Our Voices”: For National Housing Week of Action, local leaders answer White House threats to housing with call for more funding, not less

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Contact: Denis Theriault, Communications Coordinator, Portland/Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services, 503-893-9430.

WHO: Local and state leaders, community members, clients, providers and advocates. Speakers are expected to include Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, State Sen. Lew Frederick and Home Forward Executive Director Michael Buonocore.

WHAT: Rally and press conference, with interviews available after the event.

WHEN: Friday July 28, 2017, 12:30-1:30 pm.

WHERE: McCoy Park (weather permitting), N Trenton St & Newman Ave, Portland, OR 97203.

PORTLAND -- Dangerous conversations are playing out right now in Washington, D.C., on the future of our federal government’s commitment to affordable housing and homelessness services.

Under the White House’s proposed national budget, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would see a $6.8 billion cut. That would amount to $80 million less for Oregon every year, and $20 million less for Multnomah County. Those cuts would be devastating at a time when we need even more federal funding, not less, to expand our unprecedented local investments in helping hundreds of people off our streets every day.

To make clear that cuts aren’t acceptable, to demand new investments instead of merely holding the line, the National Low Income Housing Coalition has designated this week, July 22-29, as National Housing Week of Action.

Communities across the country are rallying in support of federal housing and anti-poverty programs that save lives, and on Friday, leaders from Portland, Multnomah County, Home Forward and the state of Oregon will join them with an event at New Columbia in North Portland.

We rely on federal funding for a range of services, from Meals on Wheels for our seniors to construction of new affordable housing to the rental vouchers that help working families or people with disabilities stay off our streets.

Those programs make a difference. They work. And they’re particularly important in our community, where housing costs are failing to keep up with incomes. But we’ve been watching federal officials do less and less for years, even as our local leaders have scraped to find ways to do more and more.

Since last year, voters in Portland passed a historic bond measure to pay for affordable housing. Portland and Multnomah County leaders have spent record amounts on homelessness services and seen record amounts of housing placements and shelter use in return.

Our community was the first on the West Coast to win federal honors for addressing homelessness among Veterans. And state leaders, while facing a difficult budget this year, have nonetheless invested millions of dollars more in rent assistance, shelter beds and housing.

But without real federal partnership, without meaningful federal investments, none of that will be enough to support all of our neighbors in need. It won’t be enough to end homelessness. And it won’t be enough to ensure everyone in our community has a home they can afford.

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A message from the Mulnomah County Health Department: Heroin overdose spike reported in downtown Portland

Multnomah County Health Department is aware of a recent spike in heroin overdoses concentrated in downtown in Portland. 
 
Key messages for anyone who uses heroin or may be at risk of returning to using heroin:

  • Don’t use alone.
  • Don’t mix heroin with alcohol or pills.
  • Carry naloxone and have an overdose plan
  • Know that it may take more than two doses of naloxone to reverse an overdose.
  • Be extra careful if you have been clean for awhile (like jail, detox, hospital, or you just cut back yourself) because your tolerance level may have changed and you may want to use a smaller amount.
  • Consider getting some help. Call 1-800-923-HELP for free, confidential, alcohol/drug counseling and treatment referral.

If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 and give naloxone if you can.

Please find attached information to print and distribute.

For more information please contact:
Multnomah County Health Department, (503) 988-3030

Jennifer Vines, MD, MPH
Deputy Health Officer
Multnomah County Health Department

 

Meyer Memorial Trust announces funding opportunity for supportive housing proposals

Ending chronic homelessness in our community -- helping people with disabilities and addictions into housing and out of emergency rooms and shelters -- means expanding our community's capacity for housing that comes with support services attached.

Our partners at Meyer Memorial Trust announced another opportunity for funding "collaborative projects working to better align affordable housing opportunities with services that contribute to residents’ stability and success."

"By supporting focused efforts across multiple systems, Meyer aims to assist the broader fields of affordable housing and supportive services by highlighting replicable models of successful collaboration, identifying specific strategies to promote effective cooperation across systems or service providers, and identifying policy barriers to better coordination."

Meyer invites proposals from collaboratives working to better align affordable housing with services that contribute to residents’ stability and success. Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. More details regarding this funding opportunity and how to apply can be found at at mmt.org/RFP.

Please share this opportunity with your networks.

New milestones in homelessness services: Record use of emergency shelter; housing placements ahead of pace

Partners working with A Home for Everyone, our community-wide initiative to end homelessness in Multnomah County, served a record number of people in emergency shelter this year. The milestone is part of the payoff of last year’s dramatic expansion in capacity.

Through the first nine months of fiscal year 2017, which ends June 30, providers say they’ve helped 6,733 people, according to a new quarterly outcomes report released this week. That eclipses the 6,644 people served through all of fiscal year 2016, our community’s previous record.

In addition, housing placements are significantly ahead of last year’s pace through nine months. In all, providers helped place 3,535 people into housing between July 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016 – 338 more people than at the same point last year. Last year’s housing placement numbers also set a record at 4,603.

Both increases speak to the fallout from the ongoing housing crisis that is pushing people into homelessness and keeping them there. Rents and housing costs continue to outpace income for our most vulnerable neighbors.

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 background or expertise in East County/Gresham Services or School Districts. 

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 Carrie Young, A Home For Everyone Program Assistant, at carrie.young@multco.us. The deadline to apply is end-of-business on Friday, August 4th, 2017.

If you have further questions, please contact Carrie Young, A Home For Everyone Program Assistant, at carrie.young@multco.us.

 

2017 Point in Time data released: More neighbors counted, but more sleeping in shelter

2017 Point in Time data released: More neighbors counted, but more sleeping in shelter

Overall, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County has increased, according to the 2017 Point in Time count, but a larger share of those neighbors slept in shelter and off the street.  

The results, released by the Joint Office of Homeless Services on Monday, June 19, are the first to emerge since local governments committed $20 million in new spending to confront the crisis on our streets.

The 2017 count found 12 percent fewer people were sleeping unsheltered in cars, tents and other outdoor places on Feb. 22 than were in 2015 -- 1,668 people.That decline marks a reversal after several years in which the unsheltered count surged or held steady. This year’s unsheltered count is the lowest it’s been since 2009.

Notably, the drop in the unsheltered count included reductions among groups the City of Portland and Multnomah County prioritized after their numbers spiked two years ago: African Americans, women, veterans, and families with children.