Supportive Housing Services agreement outlines regional approach to address homelessness
Clackamas County Commissioners have approved the signing of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Metro, which lays the groundwork for an extensive regional effort to address the ongoing homelessness crisis.
The IGA solidifies the Tri-County region-wide approach to the implementation of the funds collected via Metro’s May 2020 measure establishing a regional supportive housing services (SHS) program. IGAs with the same language are expected to be approved by Multnomah and Washington counties by the end of this month.
The SHS program offers a suite of services, uniquely adapted to each individual’s needs, that help them find and remain in stable, safe housing. The program attempts to correct years of discriminatory practices and focuses on addressing housing instability for people experiencing homelessness across the region, with a call to share responsibility and strengthen coordination between the three counties.
The IGAs are the guiding framework for the 10-year implementation of the SHS program.
The IGA outlines how Metro will distribute funds, and provide oversight and accountability. Together with the other forthcoming IGAs, the three counties’ reports on program progress and overall data transparency will improve.
The SHS program goals are spelled out in the county’s Local Implementation Plan (LIP). Achieving the LIP goals has been a high priority for Clackamas County. During the past several months, commissioners have:
- awarded over $2 million in new contracts with community partners to provide case management, housing navigation and placement, and short-term rental assistance,
- approved directing $2.23 million from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to support hotel/motel emergency sheltering, which freed up existing money to further advance the LIP goals, and
- developed dozens of contracts with local landlords to provide permanent rent assistance for previously homeless neighbors.
Here are the major service components of Clackamas County’s SHS program:
- Supportive Housing Services/Case Management: Helps vulnerable residents successfully transition into permanent housing with ongoing supportive services (or “wraparound” services).
- Regional Long-Term Rent Assistance: Provides flexible and continued rent subsidy that will significantly expand access to housing for households with extremely and very low incomes across the region.
- Short Term Rent Assistance: Rental assistance and supportive services that can be used to prevent a household from becoming homeless.
- Eviction Prevention: Helping those at risk of being evicted. Includes supplying such resources as back-rent, unpaid utility bills, etc.
- Housing Placement/Navigation: Efforts to help residents find rental units. Can range from paying back-rent, application fees, rental opportunities. Aimed at getting people housed and connected to rent assistance.
- Emergency/Transitional Shelter: Immediate safety off of the streets for people experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, and transitioning out of institutional settings.
- Outreach: Connecting directly with people experiencing homelessness to help them access housing assistance and other resources.
This past November, the first SHS program components to roll out included the Housing Placement/Navigation and Supportive Housing Services/Case Management, paired with Regional Long-Term Rent Assistance (RLRA).
To continue to increase our capacity to serve more community members and roll out service components, Clackamas County will be primarily utilizing the Tri-County RFPQ. The IGAs and this RFPQ illustrate deepening regional collaboration.
Clackamas County’s SHS team will be providing the Board of County Commissioners with regular reports on program goals and progress. The next report is due in mid-to-late February, most likely at a Tuesday morning Issues policy session.
Members of the public interested in receiving SHS updates can sign up for the county’s quarterly SHS newsletter on the SHS page at www.clackamas.us/shs.
Quotes from Clackamas County Commissioners
“Homelessness is a region-wide problem that demands a region-wide solution,” stated Chair Tootie Smith. “This IGA allows for better coordination, transparency and accountability.”
“Solving homelessness can’t wait,” stated Commissioner Sonya Fischer. “Our community deserves a unique, Clackamas County-focused approach. This effort builds on our greatest assets, strengthening partnerships and connections between local providers, nonprofits, public safety, business and faith communities. We are all in this together.”
“Helping people find and stay in stable housing has long been a top priority for Clackamas County,” stated Commissioner Paul Savas. “The Supportive Housing Services program provides the framework to meet the homelessness crisis head-on. As the long-awaited funds begin to ramp up, we will be better prepared to advance our regionally-shared goal of helping people out of homelessness.”
“Our Supportive Housing Services program is primarily aimed at helping the most vulnerable members of our community – those who have the highest barriers to access housing,” stated Commissioner Martha Schrader.
“As outlined by Performance Clackamas, the Board of County Commissioners is focused on addressing homelessness and alleviating poverty to help ensure the safety, health, and security of our residents,” stated Commissioner Mark Shull.