In my role as Interim Executive Director of the Portland Citizens Crime Commission, I prepared a report that was released this week on homelessness in Portland. The report, which may be found here, describes the historical/contextual basis for this crisis of houselessness within our community. The executive summary, which may be found here, highlights seven key findings and recommendations to support on-going efforts to address the crisis. Significant among its findings:
- The crisis is the predictable outcome of decisions to deinstitutionalize and to incarcerate, coupled with the federal withdrawal from the low income housing market and within the context of gentrification.
- Our community is largely following best practice, particularly with its emphasis on creating 2,000 new permanent supportive housing beds which have been shown to sharply reduce costs for the chronically homeless.
- Our behavioral health system is significantly under resourced and in crisis.