A statement from Clackamas County Board Chair Tootie Smith and Vice Chair Martha Schrader on supportive housing


Clackamas County is proud of the essential housing and homelessness programs we provide to our residents every day.  The Supportive Housing Services (SHS) program has afforded us the unique opportunity to expand these services.  Our county chose the fiscally prudent path of only spending money that we actually had.  We chose not to encumber our budget with borrowing before tax revenues arrived.
The statement from Metro focused on one piece of the story, the SHS dollars. Before receiving those funds, Clackamas County jump started the supportive housing services work by using alternate available revenue sources. For example, a Kaiser Foundation grant for short-term rental assistance helped more than 80 seniors and people with disabilities experiencing homelessness transition into housing. We also used Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) dollars to start the County’s largest ever shelter program. During the first year of SHS implementation, the County utilized FEMA reimbursement, Federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars (ARPA), the $5 million advance from Metro, our own general funds, and other state and federal resources to supplement programming rollout. 
The anticipated tax revenue did not come in until the tail end of the fiscal year, and at that point with money in hand, staff started to fast track contracts. By June 30 we had committed $11.36 million in contracts, which is over 28% of the $40 million received.  These contracts require a lengthy process to select and negotiate, and for work to begin.  The financial report recently published is a snapshot in time.  Building new infrastructure and programs is a significant undertaking. 
We are happy that in this first fiscal year through SHS funds alone, 170 people moved into permanent homes and 202 households received rent assistance. In addition, over 260 adults and children have been served through our motel shelter program. 
This next year, Clackamas County looks forward to aggressively advancing more program services and outreach to our most vulnerable community members.  We are committed to addressing chronic homelessness.