BLOG: Consider donating to social service organizations this holiday season



BLOG: Consider donating to social service organizations this holiday season

Today is #GivingTuesday, a good time to stop and think about the 1,600 people sleeping outside every night in Portland, and the total of 4,177 who meet the federal definition of homeless because they sleep outside, are in temporary shelters, transitional housing or found themselves without a place to live for any number of reasons. It is also a good time to recognize the phenomenal social service organizations who serve on the frontlines helping our most vulnerable neighbors and providing a pathway for many homeless individuals to secure housing.

A lot of progress has been made. Through the leadership efforts of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, nearly 700 new emergency beds became available over the last 18 months, resulting in a 12 percent drop in the number of unsheltered individuals according to the annual Point in Time Count. The Alliance and many of our members have worked closely with these leaders in the effort to secure safe, indoor places for people to sleep and to provide a long-term sustainable solution to our city’s homeless crisis. Some examples:
  • Our commercial property members have stepped up to open their private buildings for use as temporary shelters, providing indoor accommodations for hundreds who would otherwise be living on our streets and in our public spaces. Answering a call from the Alliance, individual businesses also provided money and materials to ready those properties for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Our hospital members came together to create the Unity Center for Behavioral Health, which opened in January 2017 and is now aiding in the effort to address the mental health issues that contribute to homelessness. Legacy Health, Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Oregon Health & Science University backed the $40 million facility, which provides 24-hour emergency psychiatric services and ongoing treatment plans for those experiencing any kind of mental health crisis, the first center of its kind in the Northwest.
  • Alliance hospital members stepped in again to donate a total of $21.5 million for affordable housing being developed by our partner Central City Concern. The Alliance and many of our members also contributed financially to its Housing is Health initiative, which will result in 382 new permanent housing units across three locations, including one with an integrated health center.
  • And, speaking of Central City Concern, the Alliance and Clean & Safe continue to contract each year for nearly $1.5 million in cleaning services from Central City Concern’s employment program, which provides jobs for individuals who have found pathways from homelessness to housing and stability.
  • Answering a call for help from our partners at JOIN, the Alliance, Clean & Safe and Travel Portland came together to provide funds to buy two new (used) vehicles, which JOIN uses to help families move from the streets or shelters into permanent housing.
  • For the second year in a row, Clean & Safe provided funding to our nonprofit partner Transition Projects to conduct outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness and help them find a path to housing.
  • The Alliance supported the city of Portland’s Affordable Housing Bond, and joined the effort to campaign for the bond, with significant contributions coming from multiple members.
  • Finally, in an extraordinary gift from another Alliance member, the Portland General Electric Foundation announced it was celebrating its 20th anniversary by contributing a total of $235,000 to agencies serving the homeless.
There are many other examples of Alliance members stepping in to support front-line service providers who work every day to serve our community’s homeless and support them in finding permanent housing solutions. We hope you will help too. On this #GivingTuesday, please consider making a gift to one of the many amazing organizations working in this important field. Links to some of the Alliance’s partners in this effort are below.

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