Clover Court Update No. 5

Release date: 06/16/2017
Sponsored by: Housing Services Department

New Clover Court Update Available


The Housing Continuum for Individuals with Mental Illness
Mental illness affects people in many different ways and can require a wide range of treatment and supportive housing strategies. Some are coping well with their illness and able to live productive, independent lives while others need intervention and supports that are tailored to their specific situation. Some individuals need residential treatment with round-the-clock supervision, while others do well in an adult-foster-home setting with an onsite caregiver.

This range of residential options for those facing mental health challenges is provided in this graphic representation of the housing continuum. The proposed Clover Court development would fall under the "Permanent Independent Housing: Supportive and Supported" category on the chart. Through a screening process, Luke-Dorf is proposing to offer Clover Court housing to those who function well in an independent living situation, integrated into the community with supportive services available onsite, rather than constant supervision.

In keeping with the comprehensive 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, Washington County works in collaboration with nonprofit organizations and local service providers to offer housing options across the entire housing continuum and at locations throughout the community. Ultimately, no one type of housing will solve the homelessness problem. Instead, a variety of housing types will be needed to address the range of mental health challenges faced by those in our community.

Clover Court Applicant Screening Process
Many questions and concerns regarding the proposed Clover Court development have focused around the screening criteria for prospective tenants. A three-tiered screening process depicted in this diagram would be initiated when someone experiencing a housing crisis contacts Community Connect. Community Connect is a coordinated county-wide referral program providing access to available and appropriate community resources. Staffed by Community Action, they work with many local partner organizations, including Luke-Dorf Inc., to provide screening and referrals related to housing insecurity.

Once Community Connect determines that a person is eligible to apply for an apartment at Clover Court, they would then be referred to Luke-Dorf to continue the screening and application process through a comprehensive intake appointment. Successful applicants would be required to pass a thorough background check conducted by Pacific Screening Inc., an investigation firm providing applicant screening to property owners and employers.

Finally, as the owner of this rental property and as a service provider, Luke-Dorf property management and Luke-Dorf clinical teams would regularly visit the site to ensure clients have the ability to start services or request further supports as needed. Plans for Clover Court specifically include a community room for Luke-Dorf staff to meet with tenants to discuss any issues they may be experiencing related to housing, mental or physical health supports, or employment. Washington County Housing Services would also conduct annual follow-up inspections to ensure that the housing continues to meet federal grant requirements for the safety and health of the occupants.

Board Decision Postponed
The tentative date of June 27, 2017 for the Board of County Commissioners to consider transfer of surplus county property at SW 170th/Bany Road to Luke-Dorf Inc. for the Clover Court project has been postponed for at least 30 days. The anticipated date is pending while the local and federal public comment process continues for the environmental assessment. Once the date is finalized, notification will be provided to the public about how to submit testimony. 

Washington County has a long-standing policy through which the Board of Commissioners may transfer ownership of surplus property to the County Housing Authority and to non-profit organizations that create and manage affordable homes. This is one way the county tries to address the critical shortage of affordable housing and to leverage additional resources to prevent homelessness.

Washington County's approach has been to work together with community partners to address this crisis following the "Housing First" model for ending homelessness. Housing First is a nation-wide strategy that prioritizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then providing voluntary supportive services as needed, to ensure that families and individuals do not cycle back into homelessness.

Washington County, along with the rest of the Portland area, is suffering from an affordable housing crisis that disproportionately impacts those with low incomes and mental illness. The County is currently working through "Year 9" of a "10-Year Plan to End Homelessness." Although great strides have been made, Washington County still lacks over 14,000 housing units for low and extremely low income residents to accommodate this great need.

More information can be found at the Clover Court Proposal webpage.

Media Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public & Govt. Affairs Assistant