Oregon Harbor of Hope (OHOH) was founded by Homer Williams, a Portland real estate developer and businessman. In 2016, Williams was inspired after a trip to San Antonio where he toured Haven for Hope, a privately funded campus that delivers a centralized, compassionate and multi-service approach to the many difficulties facing San Antonio’s homeless population.
Williams and business activist Don Mazziotti quickly assembled a team to create Oregon Harbor of Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on developing special facilities featuring systems of care that meet the broad needs of the chronically homeless and unsheltered.
“The city, county and state are working hard to address our crisis, but they cannot solve this problem alone. The private sector must get involved to help turn this problem around. This is our city. This is our home. These are our homeless. We can make a huge impact and give people hope. They need our help.”- Homer Williams, Founder of Oregon Harbor of Hope
We Offer Hope and A Plan
Our plan is designed to give vulnerable, houseless people access to a safe, humane place to dwell, a supportive community in which to participate, and the essential services they need to stabilize their lives.
Recent history has shown that many in Portland’s homeless population choose to live in self-designed communities or villages, rather than access current shelter systems. When one of these 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 personal development plans.
Our mission is a safe place for everyone:
Every one deserves a safe place to sleep. A tent on a sidewalk is not safe.
Basic essentials like protection from the elements, access to hygiene, water, and food should be available to all where they live.
4 Point Action Plan to safely reduce the number of people living on the streets in the greater Portland area and statewide, now.
- Home Share Oregon: We don’t have years to wait for new affordable housing to be built. If we want to keep more people from ending up on the street, we need affordable housing now. Home Share Oregon is one path to meet that goal. There are well over one-million spare bedrooms in owner occupied homes in Oregon. A 2% penetration of those available spaces will keep 20,000 people in their homes, while providing a safe bed for people who need affordable housing options.
- Hotel/Motel Conversion Program: A hotel/motel conversion is the most cost-effective way to immediately provide housing – in months rather than years, at a fraction of the cost for new construction.
- Managed Community Village: Oregon Harbor of Hope is promoting managed and controlled rest villages with manufactured pods for transitional living in lieu of tents/tarps on the sidewalks, in the streets, and public right of ways. We have thoughtfully designed communities intended to break the cycle of living on the streets. Residents will have resources for a secure and good night sleep, restrooms, hot shower, their own address, space and access to centralized resources designed to provide job placement opportunities, and ultimately help find a home of their own. Our pods are highly insulated, weather resistant, and uniquely designed to be easily assembled, with the ability to be disassembled, moved, and reassemble while maintaining structural integrity.
- AdoptOneBlock: What began as cleaning one street of litter has now expanded into a community-wide effort. This program provides residents with the opportunity to take action and help keep local neighborhoods clean. The process is simple: you sign up online, pick a block, select your free cleaning supplies which are delivered to you, and clean your block when and how you choose. Currently 2800 people have signed up as block ambassadors and we expect to have over 10,000 by the end of the year. We think it is very important not only to move people to a safe place but to also engage with citizens and have a shared community objective.
Safe Harbors are different than other shelters
Our strategy provides a rapid response to people living on the streets. It seeks to prioritize unmet needs to avoid duplicating services that already exist. The service design of this model is a very different approach and has a proven track record in other cities with similar strategies.
By gathering people into “harbor communities,” essential supportive care can be centralized, which in turn reduces costs for local agencies and government funders. These Safe Harbors possess a few key characteristics:
- 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.
- They have a strong system of trained and professional case managers on-site with individual development plans for each guest.
- They 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.
We believe success lies in collaboration, respect, trust, relationships and rigorous evaluation of our programs.