Impact NW offers more feasible, humane and cost-effective solution to the Mayor’s plan to address the homelessness crisis

October 26, 2022

As debate swirls about the homelessness crisis, Impact NW continues to focus on what it does best: prevent homelessness. Our staff are working the front lines of this crisis as we help 20,000 people a year facing housing instability strengthen and stabilize — and envision a community where housing is a human right.

Yet, we find that we must also raise our voice, in opposition to the recent plan by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to address the homelessness crisis. We raise our voice to offer an alternative that we believe best addresses what is nothing less than the humanitarian crisis of our lifetime.

We appreciate Mayor Wheeler’s sense of urgency and desire to do something now to end this crisis. The call for more affordable housing makes sense. But we believe that funds earmarked for camps are far better used on more feasible, cost effective and humane solutions. In response, Impact NW is offering its Homelessness Prevention Strategy — a call to action, inspired by the best ideas and practices from our community and nation. Our Strategy is rooted in human rights and a housing first approach that goes beyond conventional rhetoric and solutions. Instead of sweeps and camps, we propose using available resources, such as long-term housing vouchers, to house and support people in available units or converted motels and hotels.

We stand by the belief that the driver of the crisis as a lack of affordable housing fueled by systemic injustices. We are experiencing today the consequence of a housing system that fails our most-vulnerable neighbors.

Our situation is far from hopeless. We know that we will find a way. But we must move beyond rhetoric and rash decisions and center the experiences of people who are living outside. We must focus on realistic, cost-effective solutions. We hope our Homelessness Prevention Strategy sparks solutions that will truly end this crisis.

Click to view Impact NW’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy