City Council approves $27M to help build 6 of Wheeler’s designated camping sites


PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The Portland City Council on Wednesday approved $27 million to help build six of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s designated homeless camping sites.

“City Council’s approval of these homelessness and affordable housing investments demonstrates our seriousness in addressing these issues,” said Wheeler. “The success of this work hinges on federal, regional, state, and local partners coming to the table with their ideas, services, and resources.”

The new strategy will launch a “five-resolution plan” that will see the construction of six authorized camping areas. The development of the camping sites is intended to begin as soon as possible. Additionally, it emphasizes providing Portland’s homeless population with the resources they require.

Updates on the plan recently passed by City Council:

  • Establish key actions to increase affordable housing construction.
  • Assess options to increase coordination and enhance unhoused access to paid non-standard work.
  • Connect mental health and substance abuse recovery services to unhoused individuals.
  • Set City budget priorities to implement affordable housing, connect homeless individuals with sanitary, mental health and substance abuse recovery services and request assistance from County, Metro, State, and Federal partners.
  • Commits the City to a multi-jurisdictional conversation and advocacy to meet Oregon’s housing and homeless crisis.
  • Multnomah County to provide $21 million to fund the capital and operations for 3 of the 6 sanctioned sites, behavioral and mental health resources, data, and housing navigation.
  • State of Oregon to declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and assist in establishing these sanctioned sites. In addition, we ask for the State’s support of the Oregon Mayor’s Association Taskforce on Homelessness.
  • Request for a budget package totaling $123 million ongoing annually, during the 2023 Legislative Session to provide direct allocations to cities for homelessness response and prevention services.
  • Create a diversion program for individuals experiencing homelessness.

This is how the $27 million will be broken up according to the city:

  • $150,000 evaluate public land that could be used to build affordable housing as well as an assessment of local regulations on housing costs and productions
  • $3.5 million for 50 person city-employee outreach team
  • $4.19 million for capital costs for three designated campsites
  • $12.84 million for operational costs of the campsites
  • $750,000 for private security in surrounding neighborhoods
  • $550,000 for homeless-related services
  • $1.5 million to expand staff capacity for the City Incident Command team.
  • $3.89 million for the Impact Reduction Program to continue operating through the year.

But not all local leaders are on board with the budget. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury sent a letter Tuesday to the Portland City Council expressing her disapproval of the plan to pull about $8 million from the Joint Office of Homeless Service budget. She wrote that this violates the agreement the city has with the county about pooling money together to help the unhoused. She also said with the lack of money, the county will lose 249 shelter beds, and about 1450 households/individuals will lose services.

Several groups oppose Wheeler’s plan, arguing that it’s simply a band-aid for the larger issue and doesn’t address the root cause of homelessness.

“We’re more interested in long-term sustainable housing policies to ensure sustainable housing solutions for folks experiencing houselessness,” Molly Hogan with the Welcome Home Coalition told FOX 12 at a City Council meeting last month. “This fall budget adjustment is diverting $27 million of our public funds that could be spent on long-term housing solutions that we know works.”


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