October 30, 2020 teameddymorales

Everyone in our community deserves safety and dignity. Making sure everyone in Gresham has a stable and affordable place to call home is one of my top priorities.

Gresham has a housing problem – and it touches all of us. We all see people sleeping out on the street or in tent camps every day. We all know people who are struggling to afford rent (or you may be struggling yourself). 

The reality is that so long as rent and single family homes remain unaffordable, there will be an unhoused and at-risk population in Gresham. Important services such as job training or counseling are not effective if people don’t have a safe and stable place to sleep each night. Everyone in our community deserves safety and dignity.  

Housing Insecurity in Gresham

The last survey done by Multnomah County showed that we have over 4000 neighbors who are unhoused, and about 2000 of them sleep on the street each night. About two thirds of the people sleeping outside each night are chronically homeless: they’ve been homeless for over a year and also have a disabling condition such as a physical disability or a mental illness. Other reports indicate the number of unhoused people may be much higher.

At the same time, an even larger number of  people in Gresham are housing insecure. These folks are struggling to afford rent and are at a high risk of becoming homeless if anything goes wrong in their lives such as a job loss or car accident. This is a gut-wrenching, dangerous edge for anyone to live on, much less entire families.

To address both homelessness and housing insecurity, I am helping to lead the city to take action. Here’s some what I have done as a city councilor:

  • Led the effort to get affordable housing and services for low income residents in Rockwood. I made sure one of our most underrepresented communities got a new center that includes over 200 affordable housing units and offices for local social service providers such as Loaves & Fishes.
  • Investing over $25 million of Metro Housing Bond money. I successfully pushed the city’s first project to combine housing and services. It’s only when we combine those two things that we start to solve the problem. 
  • Voted to increase funding for mental health and addiction counseling.

My Plans for Housing Affordability and Homelessness

We need to get unhoused people into housing, and make sure that people who are struggling financially have the support they need to keep their housing. At the same time, we need to make sure that social services ranging from job training to mental health counseling are available to everyone. Here are a few avenues we can pursue that can keep Gresham a place that everyone can call home.

  • Use Metro funding to pursue housing land trusts. Where the city owns land, we should consider developing affordable housing for those in need. We can consider models like Habitat for Humanity, or Proud Ground in Portland.
  • Create more supportive housing that comes with services like mental health and addiction treatment.
  • Make sure housing is available for each stage of life from young adults who live alone, to families who need space for children, to the elderly who need extra support.
  • Find ways to support and provide childcare for working families.

Join Me to Fight for Gresham’s Future

If, like me, you care about seeing community voices in government, please sign up for my Gresham News and Action Alerts. I’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening at City Hall, and when we need community voices on issues like housing insecurity.