PDX Shelter Forum June 25 forum - full event materials, and next steps

Tim McCormick

Dear PDXshelterforum list members,
thank you for joining, and welcome. I'm writing to start up the discussion here, share materials and followup from the June 25 online event, and say hello, as group moderator and part of the planning team for Portland Forum on Alternative Shelter and Villages (PDX Shelter Forum for short, for now).

We have almost 200 people on this list so far -- most but not all via registering for the June 25 event -- and what appears to be in many ways a very diverse group. Based on self-descriptions, we have a number of people identifying as currently or formerly unhoused; residents of tiny houses, shelters, villages, or none, builders, business leaders, elected officials, candidates, agency / non-profit leaders, neighborhood association leaders, architects, planners, and service provider employees, and people from various local faith communities. Welcome! Glad you and we are here.

My goal as moderator is just to help us grow useful, interesting, diversely-perspectived yet generally civil, discussion and sharing of knowledge, about how all Portlanders can have a safe and decent place to sleep, as soon as possible. It's a village effort, in itself -- let's be the group we want to see in the world!

June 25 event materials

Next-step initiatives or focus areas:
  1. Create a standard documents library to describe diverse types of housing, their effectiveness for different purposes, and how various approaches can plays a key role as part of transitioning people to permanent, long-term housing. Materials to effectively communicate this to elective officials, planners, community members would go a long way towards supporting and advancing the political will.

  2. Build partnerships / coalition with other organizations, including possibly working together on events and community fora, and building resources library to help all of our efforts in this area.

  3. There's strong interest in creating better hygiene facilities, particularly in Old Town, and immediately visiting/engaging various villages, and the people involved in them, to explore what they need and how we might help.

  4. Shelter to Housing Continuum (S2HC) project, from Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.  We had many participants at the event from BPS, and this program emerged as a key area where our efforts can shape City policy. BPS plans to release a draft code in late summer, invite input up to and including its presentation to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in October, and present it to City Council in December. The project lead, at our Forum, suggested that he could present to our group for feedback.

    S2HC currently includes sections for allowing group living / home share across residential zones, and creating easily approvable "Outdoor Shelters" for up to six months, extensible by Conditional Use permit or City Council resolution. The PSC chair Eli Spevak, also at our Forum, suggested several ways he thought S2HC might be expanded and given more staff resources, such as: legalizing use of mobile dwellings on private property, which is currently decriminalized but not technically legal.

  5. Engaging with A Home For All (regional homelessness policy coordination body, and Federal Funding CoC) and the Joint Office of Homelessness Services, to advocate our policy interests there.  We attended the July 1 AHFE Coordinating Board meeting.

  6. Explore possibilities in working with Oregon Metro, for example in mapping possible sites for shelters/villages, and helping to build region-wide informational portal to assist homelessness response.

  7. What might be possible using vehicle or mobile structures, such as tiny houses on wheels? What might be done under Oregon state campground permitting, vs Portland land-use process?

  8. Exploring alternative shelter possibilities under 2020 Oregon HB4212 - Sections 9-16 (Emergency Shelter). Allows by-right approval of emergency shelters and vehicle dwelling sites.

  9. Engaging with City of Portland around campsite reporting and response program (HUCIRP - Homelessness/Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program), and also community groups engaged in this issue such as Stop the Sweeps PDX coalition. See HUCIRP's  just-released update: Protecting Health and Safety: Campsite Cleanup Changes - June 2020

  10. Exploring funding/revenue opportunities to support this initiative. 

Finally, we welcome your ongoing input and feedback, suggestions for projects or future events: You can:
  • post to the mailing list by emailing to pdshelterforum@groups.io.
  • email the planning team at: pdxshelterforum@....
  • reach us on Twitter at @pdxshelterforum
  • use hashtag #pdxshelterforum when posting anything related or to track other related.
Portland Forum on Alternative Shelters & Villages Planning Team

Sean Green - NE Coalition of Neighborhoods Chair - green@...
Adam Lyons - NE Coalition of Neighborhoods Executive Director - adam@...
Tim McCormick - organizer at Village Collaborative - tmccormick@..., @tmccormick
Carol Turner - Interfaith Alliance on Poverty Co-Chair - carol@...
Les Wardenaar - Interfaith Alliance on Poverty Incoming Chair - wardenaar@...

Tim McCormick
Editor at HousingWiki, Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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