Now is the Time for Bold Action to Invest in Solutions That Work

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

A message from Rachel Solotaroff, Central City Concern President & CEO


Those of us living in the Portland metropolitan region have received our ballots, and it couldn’t be a more important time to vote. One of the critical measures on our ballots is Measure 26-210. If approved, this measure will provide major new funding for homeless services in the Portland Metro area, including all of Multnomah and most parts of Washington and Clackamas counties.

I want to share with you why a YES vote is important to Central City Concern (CCC) and to me.

Measure 26-210 will raise an estimated $250,000,000 annually to fund homeless services, focusing on client-centered, wraparound, highly flexible services and economic opportunity. We know these services work to end people's homelessness because these are exactly the kind of services CCC provides. HereTogether, a coalition of more than 450 organizations, including CCC and other nonprofit service providers, people of color, people with lived experience of homelessness, elected officials, business leaders, faith communities and more, has worked tirelessly to create this measure for the voters of our region.

Flexible funding for supportive services and housing assistance means we can build person-centered plans and address the unique needs of the people struggling most in our communities. CCC has been building integrated programs in spite of our funding systems that often require services be strictly limited and siloed.

Measure 26-210 will raise an estimated $250,000,000 annually to fund homeless services, focusing on client-centered, wraparound, highly flexible services and economic opportunity. We know these services work to end people's homelessness because these are exactly the kind of services CCC provides.

There are up to 12,000 people experiencing homelessness across the tri-county region, people like a client of ours, “Jennie.” Jennie was sleeping on the streets, struggling with substance use, mental health and physical health challenges when she met the Community Engagement Program (CEP). CEP is the kind of program Measure 26-210 seeks to scale up, providing both supportive services and housing. Jennie was able to get both a transitional and a permanent housing placement, treatment for her addiction and mental health, a new wheelchair to replace her broken one, assistance in paying back debt, new friendships and reconnections to her family. She’s still engaged with her case manager to support long-term stability and she’s doing great! We need to assist the many Jennie’s out there facing multiple barriers which current silos of limited funding often don’t allow.

A region wide problem requires a region wide solution with a region wide revenue stream.

By increasing our investments to this level, our community will be able to transform the reality of our chronic homeless crisis and improve the lived reality of tens of thousands of people who now live without a safe, stable home.

The measure will be paid for by two revenue streams in the Metro area. 1) High income earners tax: 1% marginal tax on taxable income over $200,000 (household) or $125,000 (single). Ninety percent (90%) of individuals are exempt from this tax. 2) Tax on large businesses: 1% business net profits tax exempts small and medium size businesses with gross income up to $5 million. Ninety-four (94%) of businesses are exempt. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted how many people in our communities have been living without proper care and stability. With talks of budget cuts looming, this new funding for homeless services is needed now more than ever.

Thank you for your dedication and compassion to the people of Portland and our community. I’m asking you to support Measure 26-210. You can learn more here and help spread the word about Measure 26-210.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted how many people in our communities have been living without proper care and stability. With talks of budget cuts looming, this new funding for homeless services is needed now more than ever.

There are two actions you can take TODAY. You can fill out your ballot and send it using the prepaid postage on the return envelope, or drop off your competed ballot to an Official Ballot Drop Site by 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also show your support for comprehensive, wraparound services that have been proven to end people's homelessness by donating to CCC

 

Join me and vote YES on Measure 26-210. Let’s take bold action together.