Street engagement, day storage sites part of new Portland effort - KPTV - FOX 12

Street engagement, day storage sites part of new Portland effort to fight homelessness

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The City of Portland is launching a new effort to help members of the homeless population and to make public spaces safer and more comfortable.

Mayor Charlie Hales unveiled the initiative Thursday afternoon.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, the Urban League of Portland and the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest will work together in a centerpiece of the initiative, a program the city is calling “high-intensity street engagement.”

It will target the most vulnerable members of the homeless population and people who face the greatest barriers getting help, including minorities and people who suffer from mental health issues.

Caseworkers will meet with them one-on-one to find out the specific services and support they need.

The goal is to get 50 families into housing as soon as possible.

“The number of people sleeping outside is really high and it’s really upsetting to walk through the streets and see how many people are out there and how unhealthy so many of them are,” said Liora Berry, the Homeless Services Division of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. “So I’m just really excited that our partners and what we’ll be able to do with the city is funding this and we’ll be able to help people and they’ll be better.”

The current city budget includes $924,000 in funding for the pilot street engagement program.

Hales said he hopes it will become an ongoing program.

The mayor also announced the creation of two storage sites, where homeless people can store their belongings for the day, to clean up city streets and make it easier for people to look for jobs, work

The sites will also feature portable toilets, a dumpster and a sharps container for discarded needles.

The exact location of the sites, which will open in October, is still being coordinated.

One will be near the west end of the Burnside Bridge. The other will have a temporary location in the central industrial east side, with the plan to move it to the future east side home of Right 2 Dream Too.

Mayor Hales also discussed an ongoing effort with Multnomah County officials to house all of Portland’s homeless veterans by Veterans Day. 385 veterans have been housed so far. There are approximately 305 who still need homes.

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