R2DToo rest area continues despite funding denial, C3PO camps face closure

Tim McCormick

To: PDXshelterforum list

Bcc: Denis Theriault, Raven Drake, Victory LaFara, Village Coalition (responses, comments, clarifications, corrections, welcome).

Last week there was a feature article in the Portland Tribune discussing Right to Dream Too (R2DToo)'s ongoing struggle to get operating funds for its resident-managed, independent, refuge and safe rest area. The nine-year-old R2DToo operates on a 'pittance' $2500/month budget, according to the article, and in non-Covid-19 times hosts around 100 or more people per day. In November its application for funding was denied by the city/county Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS). 

[photo: Mack McKenzie outside his tiny home at R2DToo. PMG Photo: Jonathan House]. https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/477462-385387-funding-woes-hit-portland-homeless-camp-right-2-dream-too

By contrast to Right To Dream Too's bare-bones operating budget, JOHS has been funding $175,000/month for three Covid-19 emergency shelters known as Creating Conscious Communities with People Outside, or C3PO, which are managed by nonprofit JOIN, and have a capacity for about 100 people total. Raven Drake, the Medical Coordinator for the C3PO camps and former Street Roots vendor, spoke about the design and management of them at our June 25 online forum event (see event video: https://youtu.be/lqwpbKvks34?t=1890 starting at 31:45). 

The apparent main reason for the huge difference in operating costs between R2DToo and the C3PO camps is that most duties at C3POs are performed as paid work, much of it by camp residents themselves. Presumably, this has been a very welcome financial boost to them. However, as Raven noted in the June 25 forum, this is a quite unusual and costly model for a village.

The cost level of C3PO camps seems to be a main factor driving JOHS and JOIN towards imminent termination of their support for the camps, earlier than the planned end date of Covid-19 Emergency Declaration. In a July 21 memo entitled "C3PO Exit Strategy Planning" from JOHS Director Marc Jolin, a goal is set to "Identify site(s) for transferring C3PO campers (no later than end of August 2020)." JOIN, the non-profit managing the sites under a little-compensated "fiscal sponsor" arrangement, has also communicated its intent to end involvement, on a similar schedule. 

The article quotes PDX Shelter Forum co-organizer Adam Lyons, executive director of Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, who wrote the funding qualification application (RFPQ) for R2DToo. 

Please also Right 2 Dream Too's own web site http://right2dreamtoo.blogspot.com/ and its most recent article discussing their situation, "Love in the Time of Coronavirus", from March 14, 2020. 

Tim McCormick
Co-organizer of PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki, Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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