Sharing a deep sense of urgency around the need to safely and compassionately reduce the number of people outside sent surging by COVID-19, leaders from Multnomah County and the City of Portland jointly announced a more than $38 million package that will make immediate investments in shelter beds, health and outreach workers, community cleanup programs, and more.
County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan detailed the combined spending package — crafted after a series of high-level discussions about shared priorities and immediate opportunities — at a media event Monday, Nov. 1.
And in a powerful display of unity, the three leaders stood with their colleagues on the Portland City Council and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
The package was made possible by better-than-expected revenues from business taxes collected by the City and the County. City and County Commissioners will both need to formally approve the necessary spending for their respective parts of the plan later this month.
“All of us here today see with clear eyes what’s been happening over the course of the 40 years that led us here: a fundamental breakdown in how we care for the most vulnerable people in our country,” Chair Kafoury said. “This represents a rare opportunity for us to come together, pool our resources and inject an immediate infusion into our system to address homelessness in our community.”
In all, the spending package includes more than $30 million for priorities such as more shelter sites and beds, more behavioral health and public health services focused on high-impact areas like Old Town Chinatown, and more street-based service navigation outreach.
It also includes more than $7 million to help fund expanded trash pickup and campsite cleanup programs, to help manage the community impacts of high-needs unsanctioned campsites.
The plan needs to be approved by the Portland City Council and Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.
Source: Multnomah County