On Oct. 7, 2015 Portland City Council, led by Mayor Charlie Hales, declared a state of emergency related to housing and homelessness. The emergency was declared in response to the unprecedented increases in apartment rents, reports of large scale loss of housing by low-income Portlanders, and dramatic increase in the number of people seeking emergency shelter.
As part of the State of Emergency:
- The City of Portland and County pledged to identify $30 million in additional funding in FY 16-17 for homeless services, including increasing shelter capacity by 650 beds and increasing the number of people who are assisted into permanent housing by at least 1,350 next year.
- The City of Portland allocated an additional $1.2 million in the current fiscal year to quickly expand shelter. Those dollars have been used to open 175 beds of temporary shelter for single women, couples, and single men.
- Multnomah County allocated an additional $300,000 to assist in the acquisition and remodel of a new, higher capacity, family shelter, and allocated the resources to ensure that up to 150 people in families could access the shelter 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The City of Portland adopted unprecedented new local protections for tenants, ensuring that they receive increased notice prior to being evicted without cause and prior to any significant rent increase.
- The City of Portland and Multnomah County have developed a shared state legislative agenda seeking greater local capacity to promote and fund affordable housing and homeless services.
- The City of Portland and Multnomah County have initiated a review of local and state codes that slow the process and increase the cost of creating shelter and affordable permanent housing.
- Mayor Charlie Hales convened the mayors of major West Coast cities for a day long summit on homelessness and has formed the West Coast Alliance of Mayors to develop a shared regional and federal agenda to improve practices and increase investments in homeless and affordable housing development programs.
- The City of Portland has created a single point of contact for the community to identify concerns related to homelessness, has sited large day storage containers, and has put in place guidelines for organized camping and public sleeping.