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Spotlight on Home Forward in Portland

October 7, 2013

Through an innovative partnership with the Portland Housing Bureau, Transition Projects, and Multnomah County, Home Forward (the Housing Authority of Portland, Oregon) has helped to create Bud Clark Commons (BCC), a housing development project using project-based PHA rental subsidies.

BCC offers 130 studio homes, nine of which have physical accommodations for accessibility. It serves residents who are highly vulnerable and have been experiencing chronic homelessness. All residents are selected using the Vulnerability Assessment Tool developed by DESC in Seattle Washington. BCC is also one of the few facilities throughout the country that combines different elements of service for people experiencing homelessness, including a day access center, a 90-bed shelter for homeless men, and permanent supportive housing.

Home Forward offers this advice to other PHAs who may be interested in serving housing people who are highly vulnerable, “After nearly a year of operation, over 80% of the original residents were still living at the BCC. Even though participation in services is voluntary, 84% of residents have participated at least once. Eighty-three residents are participating in case management, 57 in mental health treatment, and 14 in substance abuse treatment. The success of the property depends heavily on relationships developed while the property was being developed. The success of the BCC would not be possible without the support of service providers, clinics, the police and the neighborhood. In terms of the physical development it is critical to have sufficient and functional office space. There is a need for space for staff to both do their work gather in private as a team to provide time for decompression.”

Learn more about Home Forward and Bud Clark Commons, CSH’s work with PHAs, and learn from other PHAs on CSH’s PHA Resource Page and in our PHA Toolkit.

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