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Portland, Oregon

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"The simplest answer is housing"

January 24, 2011

This weekend's Oregonian included "Five ways forward on homelessness," a great guest Op-Ed from our friends at Street Roots, one of our most important community partners.

"Our region is faced with not only a crisis of the heart, but also an unsustainable approach in how we can truly end what we know as homelessness," write Director Israel Bayer and Managing Editor Joanne Zuhl. "The good news is that the simplest answer is housing. The question is how to get people who are becoming homeless each day into a stable living environment when resources are scarce."

Madrona Studios, Rose Quarter, Portland Oregon

They call on our partners at the regional, state, and federal levels to prioritize funding to address this crisis. Locally, they advocate for a bond or levy to direct dedicated funding to homeless services and housing here in the Portland area.

Public-private partnerships are a bright spot, they write. We couldn't agree more. At the Portland Housing Bureau, we're lucky to work with dozens of fantastic local partners - non-profits, companies, private citizens, foundations, the faith community - to make a difference.

We're working with non-profits like REACH CDC to preserve affordable housing developments in our community; with the Housing Authority of Portland and non-profit Transition Projects, Inc., to bring the Resource Access Center project to completion; and with private sponsors to fund efforts like the Complete Count Committee, which worked to make sure our homeless and other under-counted communities were accurately represented in the 2010 Census.

Bayer and Zuhl are right when they write that "it's clear our region cares about the issue of homelessness and housing." They are also right to call out the importance of regional, state, and federal support.

Photo: Madrona Studios, a project of Central City Concern, which brings 176 affordable studio apartments to the Rose Quarter neighborhood