Supporter Highlight: Oregon Community Foundation

Jul 29, 2020

Central City Concern is very grateful to the Oregon Community Foundation for supporting our COVID-19 response efforts in multiple ways. In March, CCC received a grant of $41,500 from Oregon Community Foundation’s COVID Response Fund. Since then, we’ve received a total of $225,700 from 14 Donor Advised Funds, including the Paul and Sally McCracken Fund, the Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation and the Oshiro Family Fund. We also received very generous grants from two donor advised funds at OCF that gave anonymously.

All of this funding has been deployed to meet critical needs in response to the COVID pandemic, helping to offset increased costs associated with screening, personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection services, and protection of vulnerable residents in CCC housing. These funds also help CCC respond to emerging needs, such as delivering food and technology for clients who need to self-quarantine, and providing rent assistance for clients experiencing a loss of income due to COVID-19.

Thank you, Oregon Community Foundation, for your continued support of CCC and our most vulnerable neighbors during these unprecedented times!

“One of our key priorities in the early, proactive stage of our COVID grantmaking was to support access to services offering hygiene and shelter for those most vulnerable to COVID, which includes people experiencing homelessness. Central City Concern has the capacity and expertise to provide critical support to people experiencing homelessness in our community, and could immediately put the funds to work supporting those most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”
Eva Miller, Associate Program Officer, and Megan Loeb, Associate Program Officer, Economic Vitality & Health



30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Jul 23, 2020


In this era of ramps, lifts and other hallmarks of accessible design, it is sometimes hard to remember in our near distant past, inaccessibility was the norm. Barriers abounded.

However, today is a day to celebrate.

National Disability Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990, opening the door and breaking down barriers individuals with disabilities faced every day. Today the ADA celebrates its 30th anniversary!

The ADA is a civil rights law, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places that are open to the public.It provides individuals with disabilities with protections similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.

The day not only celebrates the anniversary of the ADA — it also serves several other purposes. First, the law broke down barriers individuals with disabilities faced every day. It also marked several changes that soon developed. Over time, common barriers such as narrow doors and small bathroom stalls became accessible to wheelchairs. Other examples include braille signs and crosswalks for the vision impaired. These changes improved mobility and safety.

 

Central City Concern (CCC) is committed to ensuring our programs and services are welcoming and accessible to all staff, patients, clients and residents— regardless of type of disability. To be respectful of the independence of people with disabilities, here are a few guidelines CCC uses:

  • Do not make assumptions about the person based on their disability. It isone small part of the person’s overall personhood and experience.
  • If it appears someone needs help, always ask permission to help first: Would you like help? If the person says, yes, then ask: How would you like me to help?
  • Always speak directly to the person. Make eye contact and address comments and questions directly to the person even if they are accompanied by a caregiver, sign language interpreter or other support person.
  • Respect the person’s privacy. Do not ask questions about the person’s disability unless you have a reason to know (such as a provider working with someone whose disability is directly related to the office visit).

Check out this helpful guide on being respectful of persons with disabilities and honoring their independence. Let’s celebrate today while continuing to advocate for more inclusive changes.



A New Model for Sobering Centers

Jul 01, 2020

For the past 40 years, CCC has worked hand in hand with the Portland community by providing critical housing, health care, recovery treatment and employment services for people affected by homelessness. In 1985, CCC assumed operational responsibility for the Sobering Station. Over the past decade, we saw an increase of clients acutely intoxicated by methamphetamines and with co-occurring severe mental health challenges.

CCC recognizes that instances of self-harm occurred in the Sobering Station. It became increasingly difficult to manage the needs of clients in crisis in a facility based not on health care design, but on a correctional design, even with timely transfer out to the Emergency Department. As the needs of clients changed and risks of self-harm increased, we took several actions, including: 1) performing a comprehensive safety review of the program; 2) revising admissions criteria; 3) restricting the use of isolation rooms to only stable patients with hygiene needs, and; 4) enhancing de-escalation training for Sobering Staff.

Even with these changes, we knew the current model for the Sobering Station was not meeting Portland’s need for effective behavioral health crisis intervention. Grounded in a correctional model, the design of the program did not meet the emerging standard to provide a safe, comfortable, voluntary space for intoxicated individuals to shelter when they need support. Last September, we had already made the decision to close this program at the end of our contract in June 2020.

Evolving problems call for evolving solutions. Beginning in September 2019, CCC shared a vision, based on the work of the National Sobering Collaborative, for how Portland can meet its need for effective behavioral health crisis intervention. We connected with multiple stakeholders including the City, County, Portland Police Bureau and local area hospitals. We suggested the Sobering Station be replaced by a Voluntary Sobering Center combined with a Crisis Stabilization Unit, independent of the Portland Police Bureau.

Sobering Centers are designed to address the needs of people who are acutely affected by substances and who need a safe space to rest and recuperate. These are not detoxification facilities and do not provide the level of care of a hospital. Sobering Centers utilize trained healthcare, peer support and lay staff in a supportive shelter setting to assess and monitor the wellness of individuals. Most Sobering Centers admit voluntary clients and will take referrals from a variety of community partners. CCC’s Sobering Station was unique, as it utilized a police involuntary hold on clients during admission.

Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs) are designed to provide specialty behavioral health crisis stabilization requiring a more immediate response than a regularly scheduled behavioral health visit. Often thought of as an alternative to psychiatric emergency services, CSUs provide participants a secure environment, less restrictive than a hospital, but equipped to meet the medical needs of individuals who may be in a mental health or substance induced crisis, or a combination of both. People experiencing this level of crisis can present erratic behavior towards others or themselves. Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis require a safe and therapeutic environment ideally supported with highly trained behavioral health professionals and staff skilled at complex care coordination.

It should not take getting arrested to gain access to quality healthcare programs. Just as Portland and our nation are considering changes to interventions for people in need, the closure of the Sobering Station and the review of what replaces it should contemplate both the program model and how people gain access to its services.

There is significant national research and models supporting voluntary Sobering Centers combined with a Crisis Stabilization Unit, focusing on the health needs of the clients. We hope the community can learn from our experience and leave behind what is no longer working for today’s needs, develop services that center people most impacted, and take a healthcare approach to health needs.