Last week, CPAH held our first Housing Forum: Creating Solutions to Homelessness – What Will it Take? And over 200 guests attended. We are grateful to all our partners and sponsors who helped make this event possible. A big thank you to Broadway Rose Theatre who donated the space and helped us manage the evening. Another big thank you is owed to Here Together who partnered with us on the forum, helping to promote the event and manage the Q & A session.
A massive round of applause for the panel:
- Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty
- Marisa Zapata, Associate Professor of Land-Use Planning at Portland State University and Director of PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative
- Patricia Rojas, Metro Housing Director
- Michael Liu, Owner of Fubonn Shopping Center on Portland’s east side and member of the Metro Tri-County Planning Body addressing supportive housing services
And wonderful panel moderator
- Israel Bayer, Director of the North American Bureau of the International Network of Street Papers and former executive director of Street Roots.
During the event, we discussed the kind of community our region wants to create, the achievements we have made thus far with support of voters, and the work that remains to make a difference.
There are also a lot of reasons to believe that we can do it.
Highlights from the Discussion:
Regardless of differences, we must move forward with the idea that home is the place where all things start. Everyone in this room represents collectively that we can do better, or we wouldn’t be here.
We think of solving homelessness as a one time investment. In reality, housing is no different than our first responders, or education systems. We must think about housing as an ongoing investment for a healthy society.
Homelessness is not a permanent condition. It’s something people experience over a period of time because of a broken system.
Mayor Lacey Beaty
Mayor Beaty shared the average person using Safe Parking in Beaverton is a 70-year-old woman. “Let that sink in. That could be your mother, or your grandmother.” Homelessness is a regional issue that requires regional solutions.
When we try to do things like “solve homelessness” we forget to take meaningful first steps. We have to take small steps to solve this issue.
For everyone who enters housing, 2-3 more enter homelessness bc of the cost of housing. We need to help people stay housed to begin with.
All the root causes [of homelessness] are still there…increasing rents, flat wages, inflation, racism. We have much bigger work if we want to have impact on this issue.
Dr. Marisa Zapata
We set up a constitution that framed housing as private property. We had people who were considered property. Who has access to housing stability today… we see patterns repeated.
When asked Why the housing crisis on the West Coast is having such a devastating impact on communities today?
“We simply do not have enough [housing].”
As a business leader, Michael Liu of Fubonn Shopping Center says he tells other business leaders who are concerned about this issue to “Get involved. This is our community.”
There’s a better path forward. I hope we become the model that all other regions look at.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing held this forum and is engaged in this work because together we know that we can create solutions, we can change lives. To get there, CPAH will continue to create affordable housing that will last and that is connected to valuable service partners who can assist us in stabilizing our communities and supporting our residents. We can’t do this work alone. We also see that we need to do more. So, we will continue to find ways to specifically house people who have been without places to live – this includes the work we have been doing at The Joyce – a bond funded project that will provide 66 units of Supportive Housing in downtown Portland, very close lease up, as well as setting aside apartments for permanent supportive housing in our wider portfolio.
And even then, as we all can see, there is so much unmet need. Building housing takes a long time for so many reasons. This is why CPAH has also begun contracting with Washington County to provide homeless services, assisting at the Aloha Inn, another permanent supportive housing community, as well as working with people who are houseless and helping them move into market-rate housing while supporting them as they live their new lives. Our hope is that over time, this work will become less urgent. And as CPAH is a part of this community long term, we are looking to be part of the long-term solutions, focused on housing, because we know what will absolutely end someone’s homelessness, a place to live.
Community Partners for Affordable Housing