A Moment to Say “Thank You”

Jan 22, 2016

The support that Central City Concern received through our end-of-the-year giving campaign, starting in November and up through the holiday season, was truly breathtaking. Together, the Central City Concern community gave $210,000 to support our programs and the people we serve. Now a smidge past the halfway point in January, we at CCC finally have a moment to take a beat to truly let the outpouring of community support sink in, and we want to say, THANK YOU.

In early November, we shared Elyse’s story of years getting knocked down by addiction, homelessness, and disease, but eventually stabilized, built up, and put in position to thrive with the help of Central City Concern’s continuum of services. Her courageous journey struck a chord with our community, as we received donations to support the programs that were so crucial to Elyse’s success.

Our 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide campaign—just the third time CCC has participated—was our most successful to date. Give!Guide is a community-wide effort to encourage year-end giving throughout the Portland area and a celebration of the good work being done by local nonprofits.

Many others found their way to our website to make a year-end gift to CCC through our online donation page.

The causes of homelessness are complex; in turn, our services are comprehensive. And thanks to your support, Central City Concern can continue to provide those life-transforming programs that help individuals and families not only get off the street, but remain housed and work toward a life that fulfills their higher potential. It takes a full range of supports—integrated primary and mental healthcare, addiction treatment, housing, peer mentoring, and employment services—that you make possible.

Thank you for trusting Central City Concern to do this work in a way that honors each person’s unique journey. Your support means the world to us and those we serve. Here’s to a most fulfilling 2016.

Make a Gift, Get a Chance to Win $500 toward an Airbnb Stay!

Dec 01, 2015

As you know by now, Central City Concern is in the 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide!

In addition to the great Portland-based incentives distributed by Give!Guide to people who make a gift of $10 or more to any participating nonprofit, Central City Concern is happy to offer a few incentives of our own. (Skip down to the bottom of this post for a full list.)

Each of CCC’s incentives has a direct connection to our community and work, so we want to share the story behind each one. Our first “deep dive” explored what inspired the Nye family to commit to matching every gift made to CCC by a 35-and-younger Give!Guide donor.

Today, we take a brief look back on the partnership that led to our second incentive – a $500 Airbnb gift certificate to one lucky person who makes a donation to CCC through Give!Guide! When you're ready to enter the drawing, simply head over to Central City Concern's Give!Guide page and make a gift today! 

• • •

Almost exactly one year ago, Airbnb began inviting Portland-based hosts to give back to their community in a brand new way. Airbnb developed a tool on their website through which local hosts can choose to donate a percentage of their hosting income to Central City Concern. Furthermore, Airbnb pledged to match the hosts’ donations up to a total of $125,000!

These donations from hosts and Airbnb are put toward move-in kits for individuals moving into CCC’s supportive housing communities. Each kit contains a multitude of household supplies: linens, a comforter and pillow, kitchen items like dishes and cups, and more, all lovingly assembled by volunteers (often from Airbnb’s Portland office) in a laundry basket.

Each of these items are essential to creating a sense of home, a sense of stability. Many of the people moving into our housing communities arrive after months (or years) of living on the street or unstable housing situations with few, if any, personal items. Walking through the door of their own place for the first time – keys in one hand, move-in kit in the other – represents a new chapter in our clients’ lives.

We know that having housing is critical to becoming healthier, staying on the road of recovery, managing mental illness, finding and keeping employment, and more. Thanks to Airbnb and generous Portland-based hosts, these move-in kits send a message that people in the local community care about our new residents and are rooting for their success.

So when Airbnb found out that Central City Concern was looking for a business to donate an enticing Give!Guide incentive, they again stepped up, providing the $500 gift certificate.

New residents often write thank you notes for the move-in baskets after they’ve had time to settle into their new homes. We compiled a number of them into a gallery we shared a few months ago, but we believe it’s valuable to share it again.

A selection of thank you notes new residents of Central City Concern housing have written after receiving their move-in kit. 

• • •

Ready for your chance to win? Visit Central City Concern's Give!Guide page and make a gift of any amount today. Every gift – no matter the size – makes a difference. The winner will be contacted in early January.

In addition to the Airbnb gift certificate, Central City Concern offers several more incentives:

  1. All donors 35-years-old and younger will have their donations matched by a generous CCC supporter (up to a total of $5,000)
  2. The first 20 donors of $100 or more will receive one bag of freshly roasted Central City Coffee delivered to their home
  3. Every Monday, one donor from the previous week will win a book that a CCC staff member has found to be informative and/or inspirational to their work

We Met Our Match... Donors!

Nov 10, 2015

As you may have heard, Central City Concern is in the 2015 Willamette Week Give!Guide. We are ecstatic and thankful to have been chosen as one of 143 local Portland nonprofits to participate!

In addition to the great incentives Give!Guide distributes to donors who make a gift of $10 or more to any nonprofit over the course of Give!Guide season (November 4 through December 31), Central City Concern is excited to offer a few incentives of our own:

  1. All donors 35-years-old and younger will have their donations matched by a generous CCC supporter (up to a total of $5,000)
  2. The first 20 donors of $100 or more will receive one bag of freshly roasted Central City Coffee delivered to their home
  3. One randomly chosen donor will receive a $500 Airbnb gift certificate

Each of these incentives has a direct connection to Central City Concern’s community and work, so we’re excited to share the story behind these incentives over the next several weeks.

Our first “deep dive” into our incentives is a Q&A with donors James and Ashley-Renee Nye, the generous family behind the incentive to match every gift made to CCC by a 35-and-younger donor through giveguide.org—up to $5,000! We wanted to learn more about their commitment to encouraging philanthropy among their peers, so CCC’s Director of Communications, Kathy Pape, sat down with them to find out!

• • •

Q. What is it about CCC’s mission that calls to you?

A. We knew that homelessness was one of the big issues we wanted to address with our charitable giving, and after looking everything over, CCC seemed like a great fit for what we were trying to accomplish. The fact that CCC provides wraparound services aimed at getting people out of homelessness made us feel really good about deciding to support you.

Q. Do either of you serve on any nonprofit boards or regularly engage in volunteerism?

A. Not as much as we’d like to, especially since having a baby! My wife regularly volunteers for VoiceCatcher, a nonprofit women’s collective of writers and artists, and I serve on CCC’s Planned Giving Committee. I’ve also volunteered on the Finance Committee of the Rose City Rollers, Portland’s own roller derby league.

Q. Why do you suppose Give!Guide focuses on younger donors?

A. It’s definitely important to start the donating habit early. Many people think that under-35s don’t donate to charity. But according to a 2012 survey commissioned by the Millennial Impact Project, about 75% of people between the ages of 20 and 35 gave to charity in the previous year. As long as Give!Guide can get into young people’s hands, and make a case for helping the charities that make Portland a better place to live, I think we can really make a difference.

Q. What would you say to a friend about why they should donate to CCC?

A. There’s really no other local organization that does what CCC does. Portland is a great city, and everyone deserves to have a chance at helping it become even greater. CCC is helping provide that chance.

Portland Wins Competitive Federal Award to Further Efforts to End Homelessness

Feb 11, 2015

Portland, OR – A partnership of five local agencies has been awarded a $2.0 million bonus in renewable federal funds for a new project aimed at quickly re-housing people experiencing homelessness. Central City Concern will lead the collaborative, in partnership with Cascadia Behavioral Health, JOIN, NARA, and Transition Projects. Only 25 projects were awarded nationally. In Portland, this new award will annually house and provide intensive support services to more than 130 chronically homeless households, including disabled adults, veterans, and families.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has offered the bonus, on top of the annual Continuum of Care grants that support nationwide efforts to end homelessness through housing and support services.  Specifically, HUD sought new projects that could increase collaboration among housing and health care providers to help people experiencing homelessness improve health and housing stability.

 “The renewable nature of this award makes it particularly exciting as it will expand our capacity to get people the help they need for many years,” said Central City Concern Executive Director Ed Blackburn.

City of Portland Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who sits on the Executive Committee of A Home for Everyone Coordinating Board, said “To be one of a select few communities nationwide chosen for bonus funding speaks to the strength of the collaboration among our local governments and nonprofit health and housing providers in addressing homelessness. Meaningfully impacting homelessness begins with an understanding that housing and health go hand-in-hand.”

The funding represents a 25% expansion of our community’s current HUD funding for permanent supportive housing.  It also leverages nearly $6 million in non-HUD funded services, including an unprecedented $4.6 million commitment of Medicaid-funded services from Health Share of Oregon.

“Our community is committed to ending homelessness, but we know that we cannot do it alone.  We need significant support like this from our federal partners. Combining this award with the expertise and resources of Central City Concern and the collaborating agencies, we can make real progress on tackling chronic homelessness in our community,” said Marc Jolin, the director of the A Home for Everyone Initiative.   

A Give!Guide Thank You

Jan 08, 2015

The 2014 Willamette Week Give!Guide wasn't Central City Concern's first Give!Guide rodeo; that was, in fact, just one year earlier. In 2013 we were brand new Give!Guide participants and didn't completely know what to expect. But we went ahead and asked our beloved Portland community to consider supporting our work to help individuals get off the street, get into housing, obtain healthcare, and find meaningful employment. By midnight of December 31, 2013, donors had made just over $20,000 in donations through Give!Guide. We were equally surprised, excited, and grateful.

So, when Central City Concern was chosen to participate in Give!Guide in 2014, we had a better idea of what was possible. Riding the excitement and momentum from the 2013 campaign, we set our 2014 Give!Guide goal at $25,000, an ambitious 25% increase in total gifts.

By midnight on December 31, 2014, 240 Give!Guide supporters (129 of whom were new donors to Central City Concern) had blown past our goal to the tune of $33,540 in donations ($36,040 when including the anonymous match)! Suffice it to say, we were stunned. 

We were also humbled - by your belief in the effectiveness of our comprehensive services, and your willingness to back that belief with a donation. The trust that our clients, patients, tenants, partners, and supporters put in us is paramount, and we do our work each day to honor it.

And we are, above all else, incredibly thankful to each and every person and household who made the choice to donate to Central City Concern through Give!Guide. 

Our Give!Guide page included the following testimonial from Danielle, a client:

“CCC gave me a chance to make something of myself, to help me get clean and sober, to face my past. Now I’m caring for two kids, making time for homework, and keeping up a house.”

Everyone who supports CCC and the comprehensive programs and services we provide - through Give!Guide or any other method of giving - becomes a part of Danielle's story and countless like it to come. 

Thank you so much for your support.

It's Give!Guide Season!

Nov 07, 2014

As of Wednesday, November 5, the 2014 Willamette Week Give!Guide season is live! This is Central City Concern's second year in a row participating in Give!Guide, and we are more grateful and excited than ever before!

What’s Give!Guide?
Willamette Week’s Give!Guide is an annual print and online publication intended to encourage year-end charitable giving by showcasing local nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes. The printed Give!Guide functions like a catalog of nonprofits, and is inserted into all 80,000+ copies of Willamette Week. In 2013, nearly 7,500 donors gave a total of $2.4 million to 129 organizations. This year, 136 organizations are participating. The website is www.giveguide.org.

What Makes Give!Guide Special?
Give!Guide makes giving giving fun and extra rewarding by offering many incentives for contributions. All donors who give at least $10 at any time during Give!Guide season earn an incentive, typically free or discounted items from local businesses.

But what Give!Guide is especially known for is their “Big Give” days: predetermined days during which any donor who makes a gift of at least $10 that day has an opportunity to be chosen at random to win a special incentive prize. Big Give prizes this year include a Trail Blazers ticket package, a Powell's Books shopping spree, a Thorn and Timbers ticket package, a new bike from Bike Gallery, and a Salt & Straw Ice Cream party for you and 200 friends!

Great - Now What?
CCC cherishes the privilege of being selected for Give!Guide again this year. If you have been thinking about making a year-end gift to Central City Concern, doing so through Central City Concern's Give!Guide page is a great, fun way to do so. Plus, CCC is offering our own incentives to thank and encourage giving:

  • If you are a first-time donor to Central City Concern, an anonymous donor will match your donation (up to a total of $2,500)
  • The first 20 Give!Guide donors of $100 or more will receive one bag of freshly roasted Central City Coffee delivered to their door
  • The single largest Give!Guide donor will receive a certificate for two tickets to a 2014-2105 regular-season Trail Blazers game.

Additionally, we hope that you will share this wonderful opportunity with all your friends and family. Encourage them to check out all the amazing nonprofits participating in Give!Guide, and tell them about why you believe in Central City Concern! Thank you!

Stay Up-to-date with All the Latest Give!Guide News
Central City Concern
Give!Guide page: giveguide.org/#centralcityconcern
Twitter: twitter.com/cccportland
Facebook: facebook.com/cccportland
Instagram: instagram.com/cccportland

Main site: giveguide.org
Twitter: twitter.com/giveguide
Facebook: facebook.com/giveguide
Instagram: instagram.com/giveguide

Kimberly's Story

Dec 02, 2011

When Central City Concern gave me housing, healthcare, and addiction treatment services, they didn’t change the world. But for my daughter and me, the whole world changed.

In December 2006 I was pregnant, homeless, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I wasn’t feeling very merry or bright about the approaching holidays.

The gift I wanted more than anything? Change. And I wanted it desperately.

A friend told me about the Letty Owings Center, a program run by Central City Concern that provides housing and healthcare for pregnant women who are homeless and struggling with addiction. I got in, and by March 2007, I was clean and sober. For the first time in a long time, I was living in a safe, stable, supportive environment surrounded by people who wanted me to succeed. In August 2007, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

In April 2008, I moved out of the Letty Owings Center and into Central City Concern’s alcohol- and drug-free family housing. Over the next three years, Central City Concern gave me the support I needed to stay sober through their Recovery Mentor Program, get job training through their Supported Employment program, and be a good mom.

Central City Concern gave me the gift of change I so desperately wanted five years ago. Now my daughter and I have our own place. I have a job that I love and I’m off all public assistance. And this year, I’m looking forward to the holidays.

I am so grateful for the support I received from Central City Concern. But I know there are hundreds of people out there who are still struggling like I once did. This holiday season, you can help by supporting Central City Concern with a gift of $500, $250, $100, or whatever you can afford. To make your gift on our secure, online server, click here.

Please make that gift today. The need for your support has never been greater.


This is my story...

Sep 29, 2011

Thank you for visiting this website to learn more about how Central City Concern helped me turn my life around.

Arrogant, unstable, unwilling to change.

High school dropout. Cocaine addict. Hustler and thief.

Chronically homeless. A drain on society.

That’s how I’d describe myself up until Thanksgiving 2008, when Central City Concern gave me one more chance to turn my life around.

I’d run away from home at age 10 and starting using drugs at about the same time. Between the ages of 12 and 44, I’d been arrested almost 200 times—126 times in Portland, alone. I’d spent 32 years living on the streets, been through four rehabs, and made countless trips to jail.

I was exhausted. And I was ready for something different.

I first became a client of Central City Concern in the Fall of 2006. CCC offered me a safe place to live and a case manager to help me get pointed in the right direction. I wasn’t particularly grateful for the help, at first. In fact, I continued to cause trouble for two more years. But Central City Concern never gave up on me.

In March 2009, I got a room at The Estate, one of several CCC buildings dedicated to housing people who are newly engaged in treatment and recovery. Shortly thereafter, I was hired on as a “barrel pusher” for the Clean & Safe program, where I started to gain job skills and earn a reputation as a dependable employee. I worked my way up, becoming a janitor through CCC’s Business Enterprises program.

Now I’m the Weekend Supervisor for the Clean & Safe program, a father to my children, and a mentor to other addicts struggling to get clean and off the streets. I’ve got my driver’s license, I’ve paid off my debts, and I’m planning on enrolling in community college so I can continue to advance professionally.

None of this would be happening for me without Central City Concern. I’m in the mainstream for the first time in my life.

I know there are countless other people out there like me who still need help. On any given night, approximately 2,500 adults—some with young children—are sleeping in shelters or doorways in the City of Portland. Nearly all of them are suffering from mental health problems, alcoholism or drug addiction. Some are victims of domestic violence. Some are military veterans with PTSD. Some have had experience with the legal system.

They all deserve the same chance I got to get on their feet.

That’s why I’m asking you to make a donation today to Central City Concern of $250, $100, $50, or whatever you can afford. You can click here to do so.

Thank you very much for supporting Central City Concern and giving others like me the chance to turn their lives around, too.


Darrell W.

P.S.: For more information on who is homeless and why, please visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness website’s FAQ page.

CCC Team Joins 2010 NAMI Walk!

Jun 01, 2011

I wanted to place a well deserved shout out to our CCC 2011 NAMI walk team. This year we were festooned in beautiful vibrant yellow and orange t-shirts, carried multi-colored signs and radiated lots of enthusiasm. We clearly had a presence on the waterfront.

Our participants included; 16 staff, 6 consumers and 5 volunteers. Several people walked over to our table to pick up signs to carry in the walk in support of CCC.

A special thanks to Jenni Eldredge, Cheryl Zechman, Chris Colburn and Maria Gargano who comprised our illustrious planning committee. Thanks to Nic Granum who drove the RCP van for the 2nd year in a row.

And thanks again team CCC for all your support.

Walkers for the CCC 2011 Team

Erika Armsbury and daughter Zara Hayes
Anne Holcombe
Laura Brown
Katie Hainley
Richard Braucher
Linda Golden
Claudia Krueger
Cheryl Zechman
Michael Mellick
Laura Nelson
Hydee Rickert
Seiza the Fairy deTarr
Maria Gargano
Jenni Eldredge
Nic Granum
Kathleen Roy
Anne Clark
John Harlan and son (Criminal Justice)
6 fabulous consumers

Kathleen Roy, LCSW
Assistant Director of Mental Health

Music & Magic Raises Funds for LOC's Transitional Housing

Apr 29, 2011

Last Thursday, nearly 100 of Letty Owings Center's closest friends gathered to raise funds for Laura's Place - a transitional housing option for graduates of LOC. The evening was a great success with more than $40,000 raised! We'd like to thank generous major donors NW NaturalProvidence Health Plans and George Anderson, in-kind donors Wilfs Restaurant and Sysco Portland, and the many individuals in the audience who pledged the support of the program! Also thanks to the wonderful Brad Mersereau for his jazz piano and Adam the Great magician. It was a musical and magical night for all!

Click here to view a few photos from the event!