PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A new report on the Supportive Housing Services Measure shows a huge success rate in housing retention in the measure’s second year, the Joint Office of Homeless Services announced this week.
Ninety-nine percent of the 532 tenants who moved into permanent supportive housing in the measure’s first year stayed in stable housing one year later, according to Monday’s report.
The report also boats other successes under the measure, including the Joint Office exceeding its shelter capacity goal. According to the report, the Joint Office “created or sustained” 460 shelter beds — which includes their new shelter at the Behavioral Health Resource Center in Portland.
The Joint Office says they also exceeded its eviction prevention goal of 800 households, and instead prevented eviction in 2,067 households with a total of 5,380 people.
The number of people rehoused out of homelessness also increased thanks to Supporting Housing Services funds, the Joint Office says. According to the report, 1,318 people were rehoused in fiscal year 2023 – an increase from the previous fiscal year of 1,129 people.
The agency also increased the number of BIPOC households receiving SHS-funded services to 80% in fiscal year 2023, up from 73% the year prior.
“The outcomes in this year’s Supportive Housing Services annual report show what this historic measure is allowing us to accomplish,” said Daniel Field, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services. “As shown in the report, nearly every person who moved into permanent supportive housing last year was still in housing a year later. We’re also exceeding our goals for shelter beds, eviction prevention and racial equity. We have room to improve and grow, but these outcomes show that this measure is making a difference in our community, right now.”
The report also details challenges facing their programs under the Supportive Housing measure. The Joint Office says they are having spending issues and ended the fiscal year spending 65% of its budget due to workforce issues and delays in “procurement timelines.”
The Joint Office pointed to Metro’s corrective action plan after finding Multnomah County underspent on the Supportive Housing Services fund.
Overall, the Joint Office explains that provider capacity is their biggest issue, noting the agency needs to improve retention among service providers.
In a previous study, officials found that service providers had a median experience of 2.4 years, with 30% of employees having less than one year of experience. Over half of the surveyed employees said they were somewhat likely or very likely to look for a new job the following year.
To help retain workers, the Joint Office says it needs to increase administrative support and salaries.
The office also points to challenges with the volume of new contracts and contract amendments they need to complete.
The Supportive Housing Services measure was approved by voters in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties in 2020. The program has a 10-year goal to get 5,000 people into permanent supportive housing.
The measure helps provide a variety of services including rent assistance, behavioral health services, shelters, housing placement, legal services, and addiction and recovery help.