WE SHINE Goals and Policy Framework
The goal of WE SHINE is to provide safe, sanctioned housing options for homeless persons in every Portland neighborhood. We seek to establish community-based partnerships with all affected parties to create living situations in the immediate term that are sustainable now and in the future
We envision that this service will, in time, provide enough housing options to enable the City to enforce its camping restrictions. Simply providing locations for temporary housing, however, is not enough. Residents need trash services to control vector problems. They need access to cooking facilities or meal services to sustain their health. They need regular access to personal hygiene and laundry services and especially to toilets. Finally, residents need access to behavioral, peer support, and social services that will help them overcome the personal, financial, and health issues that have contributed to their present condition.
Crucial to our approach is to manage the scale of temporary housing sites so that the need is addressed broadly across the city and that no neighborhood is disproportionately burdened with temporary housing. In addition, we will stress with residents the voluntary nature of the housing offer and the importance to adhere to basic requirements that maintain safe sanitary site conditions. To achieve this we propose to do the following.
- Partner with faith communities, non-profit community organizations, and private businesses to site temporary shelter communities on private property. Limit the scale of shelter sites to levels that are safe and sustainable for the sponsor.
- Partner with neighborhood associations to provide volunteers, resources, and opportunities for community engagement.
- Partner with restaurants and faith communities to provide healthy meals and reduce the trash from take-away meals.
- Partner with community-based organizations to provide behavioral health, social services, and assistance to transition to permanent, affordable housing.
- Partner with the city to sanction sites using its emergency powers authority, and to aggressively enforce camping restrictions on public land In neighborhoods that provide temporary housing opportunities commensurate with their size.
With this approach, we anticipate that, over time, the availability of temporary, neighborhood-based shelter sites in supported “villages” — in combination with enforcement of camping bans in public spaces such as parks, schools, and playgrounds — will allow the city to address homelessness issues with compassion and within the limits of public resources.