On April 28, Portland City Council unanimously voted to pass the Shelter to Housing Continuum package. The ordinances included in the package amend the City’s zoning code, giving the City more flexibility to address Portland's homelessness crisis.
"I am proud of the over two years of public engagement and collaboration between our City bureaus that went into the Shelter to Housing Continuum,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “With these ordinances, we can continue to address our homelessness crisis without the need to perpetually rely on emergency powers.”
In the five and a half years that the City of Portland has been under a Housing State of Emergency, it has doubled the number of shelter beds in its system, giving safety and stability to unsheltered Portlanders experiencing houselessness.
The Shelter to Housing Continuum package reflects what the City has learned about the process of bringing people living on the streets into temporary shelter. That includes recognizing that successfully providing shelter to people requires that they feel connected to their community.
“The need for shelter exists in every neighborhood and throughout Portland. The Shelter to Housing Continuum allows us to bring these critical resources and community assets into the communities that need them,” Mayor Wheeler said.
In addition, the City has learned from people with lived experience that traditional congregate shelters simply don’t work for everyone. For that reason, the Shelter to Housing Continuum package codifies a new use type—outdoor shelter—in City code that reflects these lessons and the success seen in shelters like Kenton Women’s Village and the new St. Johns Village.
“The work toward addressing the crisis unfolding on our streets does not end with the passage of this project, but we now have a framework for public agencies and community organizations to work toward permanent solutions in creating safe and stable spaces for people to get back on their feet,” Mayor Wheeler said. “I want to thank the public and this Council for rising to this moment and working together to take this important step to address unsheltered homelessness in the City of Portland.”