The chronically homeless segment of Portland’s population is growing rapidly. Oregon Harbor of Hope (OHOH) is collaborating with a range of community partners to consider the most urgent unmet needs.
There are three phases to a comprehensive strategy for helping Portland’s chronic homeless transition to healthy, productive lives in permanent housing.
Over the next 24 months, we will create a low-barrier, 24/7, adequately-serviced “safe harbor” to house Portland’s homeless with a focus on families with children. This will include the implementation of a mobile laundry truck and mobile shower truck to provide basic and essential hygiene opportunities. We will also continue to develop and expand our collaboration and support with other Portland organizations in providing the homeless with items such socks, blankets, and various needed items.
We will expand spaces and services to allow enhanced transformational programming. This will include a mobile laundry truck, a mobile shower truck, and a family with children shelter facility.
We will support the combined community effort to add affordable, supportive, transitional, and permanent housing.
These three steps are a step-by-step strategy that will give homeless people access to a safe, humane place to dwell, a supportive community in which to participate, and the essential services they need to not just survive, but also thrive.
Being Houseless means…
…surviving with nothing but what people donate.
It is wonderful how they help us.
They donate the time when we eat, they donate the time when we sleep, take showers etc.
All this is donated.
When will they donate our lives back to us?
Portland’s homeless are naturally forming their own harbors to survive the harsh realities of the street. We are recommending the creation of Safe Harbor alternatives that will:
- provide geographically distributed safe spaces for unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals – including those with pets and partners
- welcome those living with addiction, physical and mental disabilities, or criminal histories
- operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no time limit for guests
- provide life-essential services (food, sleep areas, restrooms, medical care and showers)
- provide opportunities for peer interaction and socialization
- allow personal storage for a reasonable number of possessions
- provide connection to medical and mental health services, on- and off-site
- work to integrate services, drawing upon those agencies with capacity and experience
I fought for this country and for freedom.
Now I can’t get work or housing. I have to fight depression cause my clothes are dirty, I’m dirty and because of that people snub me.
Yes, that’s what it means ,that it gives people a chance to snub me and other Houseless people, but I’m learning not to blame it on other people, or race.
We all suffer like everyone else. Houselessness means that you come to realize we are the same rich or poor. We are humans.
HOPE AND A PLAN
“A community partnership to serve the chronically homeless and unsheltered individuals of Portland”
Oregon Harbor of Hope (OHOH) has a viable plan to end the hopelessness.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has assembled a coalition of individuals and organizations to create a series of ‘safe harbors’ and special facilities for the chronically homeless and unsheltered. These safe harbor locations will be operated by the private sector, but will collaborate with city, county, and state agencies, and many nonprofit and faith-based groups.
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice
– Nelson Mandela
We seek to be a catalyst and provide a location for new beginnings.
A visionary plan is already underway. We have established a Board of Directors, raised over $400,000 in seed money, and assembled an experienced, skilled, and passionate leadership team to bring this vision to reality that will truly impact not only those suffering from homelessness, but also the city as a whole.
But we can’t do it alone. People like you are needed to be part of the solution.
Being Houseless means…
…I have to stay hidden from friends and family cause this is so embarrassing.
I used to volunteer at a shelter to keep out of the weather and network.
Our community recently lost that resource.
Now folks don’t know where or what to do for help.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS STRATEGY?
Our “Safe Harbor” strategy seeks to address unmet needs only and not duplicate what already exists.
- Recent history has shown that many in Portland’s homeless population are choosing to live in communities, rather than access current shelter systems.
- When one of these self-designed communities is forced to move, the residents “disappear” until they can find another location. When that happens, they are dislocated from service providers.
- Delivering consistent services is essential to moving the chronically homeless forward in their individual service and development plans.
- Safe harbors provide a rapid response to one of Portland’s biggest problems: the fast-growing number of people living permanently on the streets. The first phase will build a foundation for a strong collaborative partnership model that addresses the root causes of chronic homelessness.
By gathering people into “harbor communities,” essential supportive care can be centralized, which in turn reduces costs for local agencies and government funders.
- Safe harbors are different than other shelters. They are non-coercive and low-barrier, meaning the traditional rule-based behavioral shelter model will not be imposed. OHOH will meet people where they are and support them in progressing at a pace that is right for them.
- Safe harbors will have a strong system of trained and professional case managers on-site with individual development plans for each guest.
- The safe harbor approach will be supported by an electronic information system that facilitates intake, tracking, continuity of services, and rigorous evaluation.
- The private sector, led by an experienced nonprofit operator, will provide primary operational leadership, allowing for flexible and responsive implementation and strong oversight of the broad network of Portland’s public and private service providers.
The service design of the safe harbor model is a very different approach. It has a proven track record in other cities with similar strategies. Unless we add to the existing system, the situation will continue to steadily worsen.
Our homeless crisis is baffling, but not hopeless. Your gift will help tip the scales toward a successful solution for people without homes.