Homelessness in Washington County

Release date: 01/16/2013
Sponsored by: Board of Commissioners

Washington County Midway through 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness

Homelessness and adequate levels of affordable housing in our community continue to be issues of concern for the Board. As many people may recall, the rapid increase in the numbers of homeless individuals and families in Washington County from 2002-2007 created some urgency for the development of the County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.

Plan development began in mid-2007 and was adopted by the Board on June 3, 2008. Through a series of forums and roundtables, the Plan was created by various stakeholders representing local government, non-profit service organizations, and citizen volunteers.  The Plan has become our collective vision to end homelessness through best practices and results-oriented programming. It also serves to align Washington County with a national paradigm shift that focuses not only on "crisis response" but recognizes that homelessness is a complex socio-economic problem that must include prevention and wrap-around services linked to housing and self-sufficiency. Now in Year 5 of the Plan, many of the specific strategies have been accomplished but more work is yet to be done.

Ongoing efforts that help contribute to the goal of ending homelessness include:

Severe Weather Shelters. When extreme hot or cold temperatures create potentially life-threatening conditions, Washington County's Severe Weather Shelters may activate, providing homeless persons with mid-day or overnight relief.  Currently, this includes shelters in Beaverton, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Sherwood and Tualatin serving homeless men, women and couples without children during the coldest months of the winter.

Housing and Supportive Services Network (HSSN). This group, made up of non-profit organizations, public sector social service agencies, government representatives and the faith based community ensures integrated and coordinated access to affordable housing and services. 

Homeless Programs and Events. The Department of Housing Services works with social service and non-profit agencies, as well as faith-based partners, to promote programs and events that serve homeless individuals and families throughout the year, including meal sites, Project Homeless Connect, and the annual Point in Time Homeless Count.

Public Safety Levy Funding. Public Safety Levy funds help pay for emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

For more information about Washington County's efforts to end homelessness, go to www.co.washington.or.us/Housing/Endhomelessness

Chairman Andy Duyck
Commissioner Greg Malinowski
Commissioner Roy Rogers
Commissioner Dick Schouten
Commissioner Bob Terry

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