PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thirty local organizations and neighborhood groups are offering their solutions to Portland’s ongoing homeless problems. One of those alternatives is The 3000 Challenge, an effort to get 3000 more people off the streets and into permanent housing this year.
The challenge is a collaborative effort to share knowledge and ideas on how to get more people housed and use that to create a plan and also apply pressure to get it done.
Kaia Sand, the executive director of Street Roots, said shelters do serve a purpose — but there can’t be just one solution for a very dynamic problem.
So they’ve focused on 3 different strategies utilizing the already vacant buildings peppered around Portland.
“There’s a number of funding streams already. Funding from the surplus budgets last fall, there’s funding coming from the state to the county and we are now in the new budget year and we know the mayor was proposing ideas that clearly cost plenty of money,” said Kaia Sand, the executive director of Street Roots.
That money, she said, “can be used to buy down the rent of apartments that already exist, that don’t have to be built, mass shelters don’t have to be built and then provide support services because people are experiencing traumas, mental health struggles that have accumulated (by suffering) so much on the streets.”
They’re also keeping landlords in mind in a few ways. One idea is a master lease, where a group takes the entire lease from a landlord and manages all the rents. They get the rent assistance and support services, relieving pressure from the landlords.
“When we are given a ‘one size fits all’ solution, that’s not even a solution because it’s not getting people housed. That’s concerning,” Sand said. “That feels just like kicking the can down the road and in fact making it worse.”
They also want to focus on safety, cleanliness and accessibility. But proponents of this plan admit they don’t have an answer for how to fund this.