Portland homeless Construction on nearly 400 units set to begin in 2017

first_imgPORTLAND — Five major hospitals in Portland, Oregon, and a nonprofit health care plan said Friday they will donate a combined $21.5 million toward the construction of nearly 400 housing units for the city’s burgeoning homeless and low-income population — a move hailed by national housing advocates as the largest private investment of its kind in the nation.The money from the private health care providers will be part of a larger $69 million capital construction plan that comes as the booming Pacific Northwest city struggles with a seemingly intractable homeless problem that has become more visible in the past few years and poses a political quagmire for local leaders. Earlier this month, hundreds of people were evicted from an informal tent camp on a nature trail on the city’s east side, and the city has fielded thousands of complaints on a hotline for residents as leaders debate repurposing an abandoned warehouse and a vacant jail as temporary shelters.“I’m incredibly excited about the impact that this project will have, but what I’m even more excited about is the example that we are setting,” said Joe Robertson, president of Oregon Health & Science University. “Most of the story is already written by the time these people show up in our health system, so we have to do something and do it in a manner that is different than what we’ve done before.”In addition to the money from the health care providers, the city housing bureau will chip in about $9 million and Central City Concern — a nonprofit provider of low-income housing that will own and manage the three new buildings — will finance the remainder of the $69 million through tax credits, loans and private fundraising.last_img read more