Oregon housing group hopeful about homeless plan

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:22 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Transition Projects has been providing a multitude of services in Portland for over 50 years.

“Our goal is to get you off the street, into some kind of services or support, and permanently housed,” said Joy Jones, the CEO & President of Transition Projects. “We also manage for the city and the county the resource center downstairs. That’s anything from mail delivery for those who don’t have an address, to showers, to haircuts, to being what I like to call a triage into shelter or housing. We also serve a big veterans population and we do the Stand Down event every fall, which is a resource fair.”

She’s optimistic following Governor Tina Kotek’s executive orders and hopes the goal of 36,000 new homes in Oregon are affordable homes.

“More and more people are becoming unhoused,” said Jones. “Number one reason people are unhoused is because housing is unaffordable and that’s across the country, including here in Portland. She’s made it known for the state, the county, cities, housing agencies, nonprofits, and really all of us as citizens in the state that this is a number one issue. Executive orders allow removing all barriers, so hopefully that happens. We know that we need more housing and not just more housing, but affordable housing and that needs to align at least with the average income that people have in the area. I’m glad she has identified that as a need and her priority.”

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She hopes that organizations on the front lines, as well as those experiencing homelessness, have a seat at the table as well.

“I always think those closest to the problem have the answers and that’s the people who are unhoused,” said Jones. “I think their voices also need to be at the table. I am an expert to a certain degree, but they are an expert in their own lives. But I think that we can do it together. I suggest that nonprofit agencies, such as Transition Projects and others, be considered to be at the table for planning and implementation and moving the process forward. We have to listen to each other. I hear a lot of conversation, the noise, but who is listening? Another thing I like about the executive orders is the pathway. How are we going to get there? While we are having this debate and trying to figure this out, more people are becoming unhoused.”

Outside of Transition Projects, J was waiting for a friend. He says he’s been houseless for around three years, but was recently approved for housing.

“I was relieved,” said J. “I have a lot of friends that I’ve seen get off the streets and get into a housing situation and they are doing a lot better and things are going a lot better.”

He says he would like to see more affordable housing in the city.

“It’s very expensive,” said J. “There’s a lot of people out here that have recently become homeless and are trying to get back. I think the housing programs they have are really good. They should have more of them because there’s lots of vacant buildings out here that have lots of rooms. It’s a confusing thing when you look around and you see all these vacant buildings with all these rooms but there’s still people on the streets you know?”